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Ah mtidt a endaiiqg siyiMkanoc; in condensed, peonaoent booldet Ibcn 


TWENTIETH YEAR 


VOLUME ». NO. 2Ji 


^ We need not fear being outbuilt in a naval race" 

If England Falls— 

JVhat of the British Fleet? 

By Hanson W. Baldwin 

Nationally noted military and naval expert of The New York Times 


I F Britain falls, will the Nazi 
swastika be hoisted over the 
Bntish fleet? 

It often is suggested that this 
might happen, whereupon we should 
be hopelessly outclassed on the seas 
and our security would instantly 
vanish. For the oceans are our pro- 


Hansom W. Baldwin is one of the most 
acute and best informed observers of the 
present conflict. His esumates of the forces 
involved and strategies to be expected have 
enabled readers to forecast the actual results 
of every major campaign except one — the 
surprisingly weak Italian assault on Greece. 

Mr. Baldvdn graduated from the Naval 
Academy in 1924 and served three years 
aboard ship in the Atlantic and Caribbean 
before resting his commissioa to enter 
newspaper work, ttc is the author of United 
We Stand, on the defense of the Western 
liRiusphere, and What the Citizen Should 
/Knave dhamt the Navy, 


tection only so long as our navy C9U 
dominate them. 

Obviously the question i» 
preme importance to us. Our nsN^ 
is strong enough now, and ijeiore 
than strong enough, to face t5^ 
combined navies of the totalitarian 
powers. Our problem is to keep it 
so, regardless of what happens 
abroad. 

We need not fear being outbuilt 
in a naval race, even should Hitler 
be able to turn all Europe and 
England to the task. One authority 
has estimated the shipbuilding ca¬ 
pacity of Germany, her conquered 
lands, and her allies, at 3,9-00,0^ 
tons, and of Britain at 2,5^00,000 
tons — a total of 5,700,000 tons a 
year. Assume that Hitler could get 
the full benefit of this, an as8uinp*< 
tion which disrefrards daJtnaEe al- 


2 


THE reader's digest 


August 


ready done to shipyards by bombs 
and ignores the inefficiency of sul¬ 
len, conquered labor. Still we could 
meet the challenge, for we shall 
turn out i,ioo,cxx> tons of merchant 
ships alone this year, next year 
3,000,000, and more than 5,000,000 
tons in 1943. And simultaneously we 
are pushing forward a naval build¬ 
ing program just about equal to the 
combined programs of all the rest 
of the world including the British 
Empire.* 

Furthermore, we can expand 
shipbuilding incomparably more 
than can Europe. There most of the 
sites for ways from which big ships 
can be launched into deep water 
have long been utilized, while we 
have scores of sites yet undevel¬ 
oped. Shipbuilding is limited by 
steel and armor production. One 
American steel company will this 
year produce more steel than all of 
Germany; our expanded capacity 
soon will outmatch all the rest of 
the world. Our armor production, 
steadily increasing, is believed al¬ 
ready to exceed that of England 
plus that of Germany. 

The only way, then, that our 

* As things are today, the United States has 
17 battleships in commission. The Japanese have 
ten, the Germans three (two of which — the 
Scharnborst and Gneisenau — are probably badly 
damaged), the Italians five or six, a number of 
yhich are perhaps battered beyond repair. We 
are building 15 capital ships, the totalitarian 
powers between eight and 12. 

Our naval air arm in efficiency and number of 
' ahip 4 >ome planes is admittedly superior to any. 

have six aircraft carriers in commission and 
12 building. Italy has none, Germany may have 
two about completed, Japan has six. 


enemies can acquire a navy stronger 
than ours is by seizure of the British 
fleet. In the event of Nazi victory, 
what are the prospects that Ger¬ 
man naval strength would be so 
increased by the capture of British 
vessels as to put us at a disadvan¬ 
tage? 

The earliest threat is the likeli¬ 
hood that the Germans will win 
control of the Mediterranean. Con¬ 
trary* to general apprehension, this 
doesn't mean that any sizable por¬ 
tion of the British fleet would be 
trapped. There would be ample 
warning of the impending success 
of any land drive on Suez, and be¬ 
fore the canal could be perma¬ 
nently blocked the eastern detach¬ 
ment of the fleet probably would 
withdraw into the Red Sea. Should 
Germany launch an assault upon 
Gibraltar, her guns mounted across 
the bay and in the Spanish hills 
could quickly make it untenable as 
a naval' base, but the fortress could 
hold out for a long time and it 
would always be possible for British 
warships to run the gantlet through 
the straits at night or in fog. This 
might involve losses, particularly 
among smaller vessels, but it would 
not add ships to the German navy. 

Suppose the British Isles them¬ 
selves should fall. What then? 

If collapse comes through a war 
of attrition waged by bombers and 
submarines, we will have plenty of 
warning and be able to take steps 
to meet the threat. Moreover, ime 
BritisHdleet would be scattered, 



WHAT OF THE BRITISH FLEET? 


S 


1941 

it is now, around the Seven Seas. 
Sudden conquest by invasion would 
be more menacing to our naval su¬ 
premacy because it would be more 
likely to concentrate British war¬ 
ships in waters where they might 
fall into German hands. 

But any realistic conception of 
the invasion of Britain must assume 
a terrific battle on the sea and in 
the air, an all-out fight which will 
make the melee in Crete seem a 
mere skirmish. The Germans would 
use not only their Stukas and Hein- 
kels against the Britisht navy, but 
also their ships — the ^irpitZy sis¬ 
ter of the sunken Bismarck, cruis¬ 
ers, destroyers, submarines and 
E-boats — to protect their troop 
convoys and to smash at the British 
fleet. They would be prepared, as 
they were in Norway, to sacrifice 
their entire fleet to make the in¬ 
vasion succeed. 

England would fling all available 
men-of-war into the attempt to 
hold the Channel and the North 
Sea. It would be a death struggle. 
A stricken ship would not retire to 
lick its wounds; it would stick to 
the battle as long as it could fire a 
gun. The RAF would be pounding 
the German warships just as the 
Luftwaffe'WQiildi hammer the British. 

Naval losses certainly would be 
heavy on both sides. Britain might 
lose the major portion of the ships 
engaged — particularly the lighter 
ships — but Germany's navy prob¬ 
ed would be annihilated. 

/It is unlikely that many British 


ships which did escape destruction 
or serious damage would be caught 
in British ports; it is far more likely 
that most of them would flee to 
Canada or Africa. Even ships crip¬ 
pled or under construction might 
be towed to safety, just as the 
French towed away the 35,000-ton 
battleships(now at Dakar, 
in Africa, damaged) and Jean Bart 
(now at Casablanca, in Africa, un¬ 
completed) when the German in¬ 
vasion swept in. Others, caught on 
the ways or in drydock, would be 
destroyed by their crews or their 
builders, if they had not already 
been wrecked in the intensive aerial 
warfare that would precede any 
invasion attempt. 

Still, the Germans would get 
some warships, intact or slightly 
damaged. How many is a guess, but 
it seems to me that if the Nazi ac¬ 
quisitions equaled their losses it 
would be the most they could hope 
for. 

The threat to our naval strength 
would not end with the conquest of 
Britain. Germany would then hold 
46,000,000 hostages. Some observers 
who know Germany insist that the 
Nazis would use mass starvation 
of the British people, or inflict 
bodily harm to the families of Brit¬ 
ish naval personnel, to force the 
surrender of ships. Certainly they 
have used some French and Dutch 
families as hosta^s, and they are 
starving Poland. 

It is pointed out, too, that after 
so overwhelming a defeat the Brit- 



4 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


ish people would have little dis¬ 
position to immolate themselves 
for our benefit. They might even 
be bitter, feeling that our help had 
been too little and too late. And 
there is a small section of the Tory 
upper class that might be disposed, 
once Britain was licked, to throw 
in its lot with the conquerors. 

Yet there are powerful factors 
against the success of any Nazi 
plan to win the fleet by blackmail. 
One would be that the United 
States and Dominions would have 
something to say — and ways of 
saying it forcefully. Another would 
be the attitude of the British crews; 
defeat has not entered the British 
mind for several centuries. There 
is reason to believe (particularly if 
the British government made its 
escape to Canada) that a very con¬ 
siderable portion of these men would 
risk — as so many Netherlanders 
have done — all the vengeance 
that the Germans might wreak on 
their families and friends, in order 
to continue the fight. 

Moreover, other factors would 
absolutely prevent a powerful frac¬ 
tion of the British fleet from ever 
falling into German hands. For one 
thing, the British fleet is dispersed 
over the world. Those units in Do¬ 
minion harbors would probably 
remain there, for the Dominions, 
like the United States, would in 
such a crisis be guided by exigency 
rather than sentiment. A certain 
number of British warships would 
surely be undergoing repairs in 


American or Dominion ports when 
the blow fell. (Three capital ships 
and numbers of smaller warships 
were being repaired in American 
yards early this summer; this num¬ 
ber is certain to increase.) There 
would be no chance of the Germans 
getting them; they would quickly 
become ours if here, or Canada’s if 
in Dominion ports. 

In the event that any sizable sec¬ 
tion of the British fleet, in Canada, 
the West Indies, or elsewhere within 
our reach, appeared disposed to 
hoist the swastika, we might face 
the same tragic necessity the Brit¬ 
ish faced at Oran and later at 
Dakar, when they had to immobilize 
French warships with gunfire. 

We must reckon, for safety’s sake, 
that in the event of British collapse 
a few battleships, cruisers and smaller 
units would be added to Germany’s 
fleet. Some of them would be Brit¬ 
ish, some would be those French 
detachments now maintaining a 
precarious and nominal independ¬ 
ence in the ports of unoccupied 
France and Africa. Our navy could 
make sure that French ships in 
Martinique would never fly the 
swastika but it could not do much 
about vessels in Mediterranean and 
African ports. 

Even the seizure of British war¬ 
ships would not make them imme¬ 
diately useful to Germany. Most of 
them would need repair because of 
battle damage or sabotage; all of 
them would require trained crews. 
With all the cooperation the British 



WHAT OF THE BRITISH FLEET? 


5 


1941 

now give us, we have our technical 
difficulties in repairing their ships 
»in our yards. It took the Germans 
from November to May to drill a 
crew for the Bismarck^ their own 
ship. It required months for British 
crews to learn to operate the 50 
destroyers we sent them. 

We should thus have time to 
build more torpedo planes and long- 
range bombers. We should thus 
have time to speed up our ship¬ 
building program and deliver, per¬ 
haps earlier than planned, the four 
to seven of our capital ships, the 
numerous aircraft carriers, now 
scheduled for delivery in 1941- 
1942-1943. 

Of perhaps more immediate im¬ 
portance would be the incorpora¬ 
tion into our fleet of any units of 
the British navy that were in our 
ports or that came under our con¬ 
trol. We could put them into service 


at least as fast as the Germans 
could get ready any vessels they 
seized. Our acquisitions, plus Brit¬ 
ish ships added to the navies of the 
Dominions, should offset German 
naval gains. 

Finally, considering the over¬ 
water distances involved, the ad¬ 
vantage our own ships have of 
operating near bases, with the sup¬ 
port of land-based air power, the 
lack of Axis bases within the Hemi¬ 
sphere, and the homogeneity of our 
fleet as compared to the varied 
types in the totalitarian navies, our 
naval strength in comparison with 
the strength of the combined navies 
of the totalitarian powers would be 
more than adequate for security. 

Indeed, the net result might well 
be the emergence of the United 
States as the foremost sea power of 
our time. And in such a world we 
should need to be. 


ofon^ of die (f)/)en oad 

million turning, churning wheels from Maine to Mexico — 
Socony, Purol, Shell, Good Gulf, Panam and Texaco 


Flats fixed, High Test, 

Hot Dogs, Tourists Rest, 
Red, Green, Stop, Go, 

Sharp Curves, Drive Slow, 
Dew Drop Inn, Bide-A-Wee, 
Kill Rare, Sans Souci, 

Detour on Dirt Road, 

Bridge Weak, 2-Ton Load, 


Slow I>own to Twenty-Five, 
Honey right from the Hive, 
Vaporub for Coughs and Sneezes, 
Paris Garters, Come to Jesus, 
Drive in. Eggs for Sale, 

Drive Fast, &c Our Jail, 

Lions Club Welcomes You, 

Route Eleven, Route Two. 


Ten million blatting, snarling horns from Mexico to Maine, 

It’s been a lovely restful trip, and now we’re home again. 

— Roger William Riia ia Natur* 



€[ How radio repair men profit dishonestly 
from the public’s ignorance 


The Radio Repair Man W^ill Gyp You 
If You Don^t JVatch Out 


By 

Roger William Riis 


CtJn the July issue Roger William 
Riis described the results of a Reader's 
Digest inquiry into the honesty — or 
otherwise — of garage men (“ The Re¬ 
pair Man Will Gyp Tou If You Don't 
Watch Out"). As they traveled across the 
continent^ the same investigators who 
found that three out of every five garages 
or service stations lied or swindled also 
visited ^04. radio repair shops. Here 
follows an account of how they were 
treated. 

W HEN the average American 
takes his radio set into a 
repair shop, his profound 
ignorance of the set’s workings will 
be duly rewarded, for he will be 
cheated 64 out of every icx) times 
by repair men who will sell him 
tubes, batteries and service which 
his set doesn’t need, or charge him 
for new parts they didn’t put in. 
In some cases they will even re¬ 
move good parts and add them to 
the supply on their shelves, substi¬ 
tuting inferior equipment. 

Such is the conclusive evidence 
produced by The Reader’s Digest 
investigation which tested 304 
radio repair shops of every type, in 
states from coast to coast, from 
^he Great Lakes to the Gulf. 


The investigators (the same two, 
John Patric and Miss Lioy May, 
vdio conducted the automobile in¬ 
quiry) started out with brand-new 
portable radios of two nationally 
known makes, in flawless condition. 
A few minutes before each shop 
was entered, the radio had been 
playing perfectly, but was delib¬ 
erately put out of order by the in¬ 
vestigators, sometimes by discon¬ 
necting a snap-on wire, usually by 
loosening a tube. When the backs 
of the sets were taken off — which 
could be done with the fingers — 
even a layman would not fail to no¬ 
tice either the dangling wire or the 
wobbly, projecting tube. A repair 
man who didn’t see them, and 
speak up, was taking the first step 
toward petty thievery. 

That the test was fair is proved 
by the 76 repair men who spotted 
the trouble as soon as they opened 
the back of the set, and made no 
charge; 33 others made a charge so 
trifling as to class them also as hon¬ 
est. But these 109 honest men were 
in a sad minority. 

Of the J04 shops tested^ igs tried 
by one dodge or another to take ad¬ 
vantage^ of the customer. That*s a 



THE RADIO REPAIR MAN WILL GYP YOU 


tfcore of 64 percent in favor of 
\pppery. 

r As was found in the automobile 
Investigation, the larger the town, 
Rhe more frequent the swindling, 
phops in places under 10,000 pop- 
fulation were 51 percent dishonest; 
[in larger cities, 66 percent were 
[dishonest. In New' York and its 
'metropolitan area, 17 out of the 19 
shops tested lied and piled up 
wholly unjustified bills to a total 
of I35.75. The first 36 shops visited, 
in eastern towns and cities, sold the 
investigators 32 new tubes. Not 
one was needed. 

Chivalry did not protect the 
woman investigator. She was cheated 
68 out of every hundred times, the 
man onlv 60. 

ft 

Why is the retail servicing of 
radios so ridden with deceit? The 
best answer was given by a dis¬ 
armingly frank repair man in Chi¬ 
cago. Caught in the act of cheating, 
he confessed everything: 

“ Mister, you’ve got me. I didn’t put 
in a new tube. We’ll give you your 
money back if you’ll give us the tube 
and that bill. We have to do that sort 
of-thing. Everybody else in the radio 
' business does it. Fellow conies in here 
with a $30 radio and says ‘fix it.’ Why 
shouldn’t we get two, three bucks from 
him? We’ve got rent, we’ve got taxes. 
Most of the time, them’s nothing much 
more wrong with radios than diere was 
with yours. But suppose we chatged 50 
,cents — the customer would think we 
didn’t really fix it. See that customer 

E : went out? I fixed his set with 10 
ts* worth of wire, charged him ^3.50, 
he’s tickkd to death. ■ 


“You can’t get away from shops 
around here for less than a couple of dol¬ 
lars. Why? Because the public doesn’t 
know a damned thing about radios. Let 
the public learn something about them. 
That’s the only way they can keep from 
paying too much.’’ 

Compare this plea of guilty with 
the statements of two of the men 
who would make no charge: 

Case No. 281. Cheyenne, Wyo. “Why, 
here’s a wire off. That’s all. Now she 
plays fine. No — I couldn’t charge for 
snapping a wire on,’’ 

No. 5<5. Suffolk, Va. A friendly look¬ 
ing kid waited on me. He quickly found 
the loose tube, and the set played. 
“What was the matter?’’ I ask(^, pre¬ 
tending not to notice what he had done. 
“Just pushed a tube in, that’s all. There 
won’t be any charge for that.’’ Then he 
explained that he was a student, learn¬ 
ing the radio business for high school 
credit. 

Much of the cheating involved 
tubes. The investigators used high- 
est-grade standard tubes, all marked 
“Made in U.S.A.,” and they identi¬ 
fied each tube by scratching off the 
periods of the “U.S.A.” By means 
of the unpunctuated “USA” it 
was possible to spot the mechanics 
who charged for new tubes when 
they had not changed any; took out 
the set*s costly tubes and installed 
inferior kinds; or deliberately burned 
out the tubes in fictitious “tests.” 

Case No. r8. Exceptionally well- 
equipped shop in Baltimm'e. Upon my 
return, after leaving the radio set, the 
proprietor greeted me affably. “You 
needed three new tubes.” The bill was 
96.80. 



8 

The investigators* own tubes, 
which we can call Zircon tubes, 
come in packages sealed by the 
manufacturer — to make substitu¬ 
tion impossible, provided the cus¬ 
tomer sees the package opened. 

Case No. J/. Salisbury, Md. The bill 
was marked: “New tube, >1.55.” “May 
I have the old tube?” I asked. “It was a 
Zircon.” Meanwhile I noticed that he 
had installed a tube of another make, 
'rhe fellow looked all over his shop for 
a Zircon tube. Finally he went outside 
and talked to another man. Then he 
came back, went to the shelves stocked 
with cartons of new tubes, and from an 
already opened carton took a Zircon. 
This was our tube, marked “USA,” 
and he had simply added it to his own 
stock. 

No. rj6, Milwaukee, Wis. “You had 
a burned-out tube.” I asked for the old 
tube. After hunting ten minutes he came 
back, triumphant and relieved, with a 
tube. Meanwhile, I checked my .set; I 
still had all my old tubes. One glance at 
his tube, and 1 said, “Sorry, but that has 
never been in my set.” He looked blank 
and scared, and faltered, “I don’t know 
what you mean.” “Mister,” I said, “you 
know exactly what I mean.” He seemed 
relieved when, paying nothing, 1 walked 
out. 

The investigators were given 68 
different explanations of what was 
wrong. Among them were: 

Singing tube, tube paralyzed, mi- 
crophonic tube, three tubes out of 
sockets, condenser popped, shorted 
'condenser gang, repair loud-speaker, 
overhaul radio, switch points dirty, 
remove partial short, aerial lead 
kinked, change calibration, wire 
broken on antenna coil, solder loud¬ 
speaker wire, solder oscillating coil. 


August 

solder transformer, piece of solder 
left in tube socket at factory. 

Some repair men — particularly 
when dealing with a woman — 
faked technical-sounding disorders 
to cover their crookedness. Said 
one in Tallahassee, Fla.: “It*s hard 
to say exactly what I did to your set. 
I removed some of the invisible ox¬ 
idation.” Others, indifferent, merely 
charged for repairs,” A man in 
San Lois Obispo, Calif., said “one 
of the tubes was temperamental.” 
A not unusual answer, from those 
asked to specify just what repairs, 
was: “Oh, I couldn’t show you 
without taking the set apart. It 
was down underneath.” 

Case No. 27^. Moscow, Idaho. The 
repair man charged $1.50 for “soldering 
a loose connection down inside.” I asked 
him to show me where. “I couldn’t do 
that without taking the set all apart 
again.” I said, “That’s all right. You 
can charge me extra,” He fumbled nerv¬ 
ously with the set. “You annoy me, 
standing here,” he said. “Please go over 
there and sit down.” I said I preferred to 
stay and see the freshly soldered joint. 
“In that case,” he said, angrily, "I can’t 
show you the solder job because I didn’t 
do any. We don’t tell customers what we 
actually did. We just tell them anything 
that sounds reasonable.” 

The investigators* attempt to re¬ 
cover “old parts** met frequent 
evasion and deceit. “ It was thrown 
in the ash can, and the garbage has 
been collected.** . . . “The boy 
took it home with him. ... I 
don*t know where he lives.** 

This instance of dexterity hap¬ 
pened in Memphis, Tenn.: 


THE reader’s digest 



THE RADIO REPAIR MAN WILL GYP YOU 


9 


1941 

Case No. 152. The mechanic pulled 
out my “ B” battery, put in a fresh one, 

• and hooked up the disconnected battery 
wire. The set played, of course. I ex¬ 
pressed surprise that my old battery 
had burned out so soon, and started to 
put it back. “ I’ll do it for you,” he said, 
and put it back upside down, so the set 
was dead. ”1 think you have it upside 
down,” I remarked. “All right, just to 
show you,” he said,' and turned the 
battery around, but in doing so he 
reversed the wires by a sleight-of- 
hand trick. I commented on that and 
asked him to change them. He did, but 
pulled a tube loose so the set wouldn’t 
play. 

Many deliberately elj^borate and 
impressive radio testing panels 
were found in the repair shops. In 
honest hands the better of this 
“Rube Goldberg” equipment is 
helpful in trouble-shooting. In dis¬ 
honest hands it can be used to make 
any diagnosis seem plausible. 

In addition, virtually every shop 
has on its counter a smaller ma¬ 
chine with rows of mysterious gadg¬ 
ets, flashing lights, and a dial 
indicating “Good” and “Bad.” 
A crooked dealer, by pressing 
the wrong combinations of but¬ 
tons or switches, can show that any 
tube is “bad.” 

The testimony of the operators is 
eloquent. Said one candid repair 
man in Gettysburg, Pa.: “I could 
have gypped you easy. I could 
have worked this thing wrong and 
told you a tube was bad. But that 
kind of thing doesn't pay in a 
small town.” The proprietor of a 
good shop in Madison, Wis., asked 


why he used no such machine, re¬ 
plied: “That stuff makes a beauti¬ 
ful display, but all you need is a 
voltmeter and a few other little 
things.” Another said, “No good 
service man really needs such a 
machine, except to merchandise 
tubes and convince customers.” 

A number of the repair men got 
tough. Here’s a case from Lincoln, 
Ill.: 

Case No. 165. “You had a burned-out 
tube,” said the repair man—“I2.30.” I 
spotted my “USA” tube on the bench 
beside him. “Now just for my own satis¬ 
faction,” I asked, “ please test it.” So the 
guy deliberately pressed the wrong but¬ 
tons and made the tube test “shorted,” 
then “btad.” 1 said, “I’m going to put 
it back in the radio and try it again.” 

He protested, but I took out his tube 
and put mine back in. Of course the 
radio played hne. 1 said: “I don’t think 
I need a new tube at all.” “Well, then 
you owe me a dollar for service.” “What 
service? For telling me my good tube 
was blown?” Then he got mad, rushed 
at me and landed a terrifle kick on my 
thigh. 

At one point in the transconti¬ 
nental journey, Patric stopped 
for a few days to attend a radio 
school. His curiosity was well re¬ 
warded. One of the instructors said 
to him, privately; “It will take a 
year to learn the radio business, 
but we can teach you enough so 
you can fool the public in about 
three months ...” and gave him * 
some advice which is highly in¬ 
structive. 

“When you operate your own 
shop, hire a service man, but pay 



10 


THE reader's digest 


him a commission, not a salary. He 
will take a part that costs five cents, 
put it in a radio, and charge for a $3 
or $4 service job. The trick is to get 
these jobs out fast. A good man will 
turn out six or eight an hour. Sup¬ 
pose he does make $100 a week on 
commission — you're getting I300 
worth of work. 

“Never do any home radio serv¬ 
icing. Never do any work while the 
customer watches you. Otherwise 
you can’t get a good price. You 
should advertise home service, yes, 
but go into the home with only a 
little equipment and say you’ll have 
to take the set back to the shop to 
work on it. 

“Nine tenths of the stu6F that 
goes into a radio when it is serviced 
is something the radio didn’t need. 
Put in new by-pass condensers and 
such whether the set needs them 
now or not. You get a good price for 
them, and they cost only a few 
cents. If you don’t do that, in a 
couple of months a condenser may 
go bad, and the customer may 
think you did a bum job. 

“Never give the customer the 
old parts you take out. He’ll take 
them down the street and^a gyp 
shop will tell him they would have 
sold him for Sl^i.25 what you sold 
him for $2.50. What does the cus¬ 
tomer know about quality?’’ 


As the customer obviously knows 
as little about quality as he does 
about anything inside his set, the 
chief hope for him, if he wants to 
avoid being gypped, is to acquire 
an elementary ibiowledge of how a 
radio works. Or seek the advice of 
a friendly “ham” — an amateur 
operator who from his own experi¬ 
ence can recommend a competent 
and honest shop. 

Those who cannot make this 
effort will be somewhat better off 
if they demand factory-sealed car¬ 
tons, ask for the old parts, and 
identify their tubes by marking 
them in some secret manner. 

Why should not radio manufac¬ 
turers take an aggressive interest in 
stamping out this dishonesty ? They 
would probably sell more and bet¬ 
ter sets if the cost of keeping them 
were less often increased by repair 
men’s overcharges and swindling. 
The good will they build up at 
great cost is constantly being broken 
down by repair men wIk) explain 
high charges for imaginary r^airs 
by blaming “poor workmanship at 
the factory.” Why should not man¬ 
ufacturers constantly test the in¬ 
tegrity of their dealers by a staff of 
traveling investigators? 

In the meantime, let the radio 
fan beware when he takes his set to 
the repair man for service. 


Reports by these same investigators on the repair and servicing 
of other common articles of merchandise mil appear in later 
issues of The Reader*s Digest, 



4 ^ *‘Lord of himself, though not of lands} 
and having nothing, yet hath all” 


Diogenes in Maine 

Condensed from Harper’s Bazaar 
/i. y. Cronin 

Author of "The Stars Look Down,” "The Citadel,” etc. 


I T IS HARD, nowadays, for the 
average man not to worry 
about the future. He hears the 
whisper of inflation and knows all 
about those ruinous extra taxes. 
He’s worried about the bit of cash 
he has laid by for a rair^y day, wor¬ 
ried as to what his insurance policy 
will be worth when it comes to be 
paid: yes, dreadfully worried about 
his family’s security in the days 
ahead. 

My own position makes me 
sympathize. In the past year I had 
lost a large sum of money, my 
hard-won security for the future. 
That’s why I want to tell about a 
man I met in Maine last winter, a 
man who has helped me more than 
a truckload of edifying books. 

His name is Ben and he is a lob¬ 
ster fisher, something over 50, 
short, bent, silent — with a sudden 
way of looking at you out of blue 
and disconcerting eyes. His face 
is brown as leather, his lips chapped, 
his cheeks creased and usually un¬ 
shaven. He lives near the ram¬ 
shackle little jetty on the clam-flats 
at the river mouth. 

Perhaps you know the New Eng¬ 
land coastal winter: the frigid puri¬ 


fying eternal wind, the desolation 
of the beaches, waves {>ounding on 
gray rocks, blue-white snow upon 
the headlands, sumac cowering 
velvet red in the biting sunset. 
That is Ben’s background. And he 
fits it. 

When the seas are not too high 
he puts out in his small boat, brings 
in a few lobsters. Bad weather finds 
him pottering around, nailing new 
lobster pots, painting, repairing his 
gear. He’s always on the job, with 
a kind of casual steadfastness. 

Ben is no plaster saint. He likes 
a bottle of beer of a Saturday night. 
On more than one occasion he has 
seen the inside of the village clink 
for taking chicken lobsters under 
the legal limit. His great delight is 
to sell big “new-shell” lobsters — 
imposing crustaceans which make 
the mouth water but have not an 
ounce of meat — to some stranger 
in a fancy automobile. . 

The portrait is conventional, no 
doubt. But what struck me about 
Ben, what gripped me in my moo(> 
of bitter unrest, was his attitude 
toward life. 

You see, since we are speaking of 
money, Ben has none. He never 


Copyright 1941 1 Hearst Magazines, Inc., jr/j? Madison Aoe., N. T. C. 
{^Harper's Bazaar, July, ’41) 


// 



12 THE reader’s digest August 


had a bank account in his life. His 
old scow, all his gear, is worth no 
more than a few dollars. His clothes, 
with luck, might fetch 50 cents. 
He lives, in the strictest sense, a 
hand-to-mouth existence. If he sells 
a dozen lobsters one week he buys 
himself a steak. If he doesn't he 
takes in his belt, digs himself some 
clams. In the New England hurri¬ 
cane his little shanty was blown to 
smithereens. Ben borrowed an axe, 
went into the woods, built himself 
another. 

Though Ben is completely at the 
mercy of the wind, the weather, 
and the gods, nothing could surpass 
his tranquillity. He takes misfor¬ 
tune in his stride. He has his in¬ 
dependence, his freedom. His other 
needs are few. 

You may remember the classic 
story of Diogenes: how the old 
Athenian, sitting in his famous tub, 
was visited by Alexander the Great, 
who, with the resources of the world 
at his command, oifered to gratify 
his eccentric subject’s slightest 
wish; and how Diogenes, finding 
the Emperor's shadow an annoy¬ 
ance, merely replied: “Then stand 
out of my light.” 

One day, as I talked with Ben, 
that story crossed my mind and 
I exclaimed: “Ben! Suppose you 
■struck it rich — suppose someone 
left you a fortune — what would 
you do with it?” His brows lifted 
in surprise. He thought for a mo¬ 
ment, then answered between vex¬ 
ation and perplexity: “Darned if I 


know. Nothing, I guess.” He paused, 
frowning. “I'm fixed pretty good 
the way I am.” And he went on 
calking his boat. 

He was quite sincere. Money 
simply didn't interest him. For 
that reason he had none of the 
feverish desires, the crushing anxi¬ 
eties inseparably linked with wealth. 
Instead he had contentment, self- 
control, his simple native faith. 

As I left him that day I was con¬ 
scious of a secret sense of shame. 
Beside his clear simplicity my own 
values, the world's values sud¬ 
denly seemed dross. I had the feel¬ 
ing that humanity had sacrificed 
the spirit for the fiesh, had thus be¬ 
come sapped of self-reliance, dread¬ 
ing any prospect not insulated by 
the ease, the smug protection that 
money can buy. 

A great humility took hold of me 
as I viewed in retrospect my own 
scramblings to fill my barns. I 
heard the echo of those immortal 
words: “O ye of little faith! Take 
no thought, saying. What shall we 
eat? or. What shall we drink? or. 
Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” 
As in a vision 1 had the clear-cut 
precognition of what must come to 
pass: how, to achieve our brave 
new world, we must forge from ad¬ 
versity a new philosophy of simple 
trust, of austerity and sacrifice. 
We must have an ideology not 
based on superficial things, on 
printed paper money or overstuffed 
upholstery or underslung sedans, 
but dn something deeper, vital. 



DIOGENES IN MAINE 


^3 


J941 

spiritual. Times are changing; val¬ 
ues are in the melting pot. Amid 
the desolation of this war-torn 
world, let us remember that God 
fulfills himself in many ways. Christ 
cast the money-changers from the 
temple. We must cast out all self- 
interest from our. lives. Today a 
man’s best assets are his health, a 
stout heart, confidence in his own 



“What was Franklin Roosevelt like 
when he was a small boy?” 1 asked Mrs. 
James Rotjsevclt. 

“Full of ideas,” she replied. “He was 
always making boats or building forts or 
collecting stamps or stuffing birds or 
something. Once I told him not to or¬ 
der the other boys around so much. 
‘But,’ he protested, ‘nothing would get 
done if I didn’t give orders!”’ 

— M. li. Malton in i'oronto Star Weekly 

Darryl Zanuck is one Hollywood 
producer who doesn’t like to be agreed 
with too easily. Once, in a story confer¬ 
ence, he shouted, “For God’s sake, 
don’t say yes until I finish talking.” 
One day in Caliente he was refreshing 
himself after producing Noah*s an 
Old Testament hodgepodge which was 
doing badly at the box office, when sud¬ 
denly a kick bounced him against the bar. 

“What was that for?” he demanded, 
glaring at the kicker, a writer named 
Arthur Caesar. 


integrity. His only true capital is, 
was, and always will be his soul. 

Yes, I am grateful to Ben, my 
Maine Diogenes. He has taught me 
to look at life with a gaze less 
clouded, less afraid. I commend 
him as a model to those worrying 
souls who shrink from the hard¬ 
ships, the uncertainties, that lie 
ahead. 


“For taking a book that’s been a 
smash hit for 5000 years and making a 
flop out of it,” said Caesar. Zanuck, 
who admires aggressive people, gave 
Caesar a contract on the spot. —u/e 

An extra came up to Helen West- 
ley, veteran character actress, on a 
movie set. “Why, Miss Westlcy,” she 
gushed, “what are you doing in this 
picture?” 

“My dear,” the reply sped back, 
“hadn’t you heard? I furnish the sexa¬ 
genarian appeal.” —Omaha World-Herald 

, Clarence Budington Kelland 
was acting as master of ceremonies at a 
huge dinner party. The speakers’ table 
was distressingly populous. Mr. Kelland 
got up, a slip of paper in his hand. 

“Gentlemen,” he began, “the obvi¬ 
ous duty of a toastmaster is to be so in¬ 
fernally dull that the succeeding speak¬ 
ers will appear brilliant by contrast.” 
The succeeding speakers began to 
chuckle heartily. , 

“I’ve looked over this list, however,” 
added Kelland, “and I don’t believe I 
can do it.” 

The speakers stopped chuckling and 
the diners bellowed. 

— Qmtnbuted by John Goldstrom 



Can we recover in time from the disorganized 
hodgepodge of our first year’s defense effort? 


What Would W ? Fight With ? 

Condensed from The United States News 


n FTER one full year of armament 
effort the United States has 
JLjV. produced a volume of arms 
that Germany's Europe can turn 
out in less than two months, Eng¬ 
land in little more than three. Ships, 
planes, tanks, guns are needed in 
vast quantities. Except for planes, 
these weapons are flowing out of 
American factories today in a mere 
trickle, and large-scale production, 
first forecast for June, now is being 
talked of for October and No¬ 
vember. 

A vast defense program is out¬ 
lined in appropriations which total 
$45,000,000,000. But of this, less 
than $3,000,000,000 has so far gone 
into guns, aircraft, ammunitions, 
ships and other instruments of war. 
Here is the record showing how far 
the United States is from filling 
either its expectations or its needs: 

Aircraft^ by far the most favor¬ 
able of any armament industry. 
Starting from near scratch one year 
ago, aircraft manufacturers ended 
the year with a record of 10,500 
•military-type planes produced (for 
Britain and the U. S.), approxi¬ 
mately one half of them fighting 
craft. This means that the goal of 
80,000 planes for our own army 


and navy still is just a dream. 
Those services today have fewer 
than 8000 planes, including train¬ 
ers,* fighters and bombers. 

Only in the last few weeks was 
a decision reached to go ahead with 
a big program of long-range bomber 
construction. It will be 1943 before 
this program is in full swing. Mean¬ 
while Germany is still far ahead 
both in planes and in capacity to 
produce them. 

Shipbuilding: Our merchant ship¬ 
building plans call for 705 vessels 
to be built at a cost of a billion and 
a half dollars. Included is an emer¬ 
gency program for quick construc¬ 
tion of 442 ships. 

This sounds impressive in figures. 
But the first ship under the emer¬ 
gency program is scheduled for 
delivery in November, and to date 
actual expenditure is less than $10,- 
000,000. The record is alarming. 
The government covers up lack of 
performance now by talking in big 
figures of what is to be done two 
years from now: close to three 
million tons of new ships in 
But the need for ships is pressing 
in 1941 — not 1943. 

Ordnance: The goal in tanks is 
30,000. Light tanlu now are being 


Copyright /p//. United States News Put. Cofp.t S20t M St.f N. W.^ Washington^ Z>. C. 
14 {the United States NevUf June gy, ’4/) 



WHAT WOULD WE FIGHT WITH? 


produced at the rate of 15 a day. 
First real production of medium 
tanks will start in October. A 
heavy-tank program still is in the 
blueprint stage. Meanwhile, the 
British are in crying need of tanks 
of all kinds. 

An even less impressive record 
is found in other heavy ordnance. 
Almost no modern antiaircraft guns 
have been produced. There are said 
to be 50 modern 105-mm. howitzers, 
no 155-mm. guns and no 8-in. 
howitzers. 

Rifle and machine-gt^n produc¬ 
tion is better. A bottleneck in 
powder production is being broken. 
However, there aren’t enough shells 
to supply guns in the relatively few 
tanks on hand and being built. 

It’s the same story concerning 
antiaircraft weapons for warships; 
they simply arc not available and 
are not being produced in quantity. 

Aid to democracies: This country 
is setting out to become the “ arsend 
of democracy.” There is $7,000,- 
000,000 available as a start in build¬ 
ing the arsenal, and President 
Roosevelt is prepared to ask Con¬ 
gress for further funds. 

Yet during its first three months 
of effort as democracy’s arsenal, the 
United States succeeded in provid¬ 
ing only $75,000,000 worth of aid 
to the British and Chinese. This 
included $65,000,000 in equipment 
already on hand and $10,000,000 in 
newly produced equipment, ^be 
war goods that the United States 
provided to the democracies in these 


15 

three months represented less than 
two days of productionfor Germany's 
Europe, 

Where does all this leave our army? 
The new army possesses sufficient 
rifles and machine guns, hut an 
inadequate supply of all other weap¬ 
ons^ from antitank guns to airplanes 
and tanks, and it will remain in- 
adecjuately supplied for many months 
to come.- 

How about the navy? The navy 
today is at wartime efficiency. It 
has first call upon the war indus¬ 
tries of the nation.' It has taken 
over the best and fastest ships of 
the merchant marine. Its personnel 
is all volunteer and all enlisted for 
six years. 

Our navy is a pioneer in the de¬ 
velopment of specialized aircraft. 
It is far ahead of other navies in its 
training in the new mechanized 
warfare at sea that involves co¬ 
ordination of air and surface power. 
The fact is, it is the most important 
idle fighting force in the world 
today. With its air force and ma¬ 
rines it is the most likely of services 
to see early action. Provided the 
British navy is kept in being and 
in cooperation with the American 
navy, we are assured time in which 
to build up defense industries and 
to equip an army and an air force. 

Why is the United States having* 
such difficulty in speeding its pro¬ 
duction of actual war materials? 
One answer is lack of planning. 
Neither army nor navy was ready 
with plans for the vast expansion 



i 6 


THE reader’s digest 


that the German conquest of France gram with a minimum of dislocation 

precipitated. The navy had not and a maximum of result, 
foreseen what the airplane would And then there have been the de- 
do to warships. The army had not fense industry strikes, costing mil- 
foreseen any number of develop- lions of man days of work, 
ments. Its ordnance department Can the United States make up for 
had artillery and tank designs that lost time? It can, but the job is 
were outmoded as soon as Germany immense. How immense is shown 
showed what she had. In fact the by official estimates of the produc- 
whole organization of the army, tion rate of war goods required to 
along with its weapons and tactical overcome the present lead of Ger- 
conceptions, became obsolete the many’s Europe; ^30,000,000,000 
day Hitler marched into Holland, worth a year. 

One year after this country started This means ten times as much 
in earnest to arm, there is still no as was produced in the year of 
over-all planning and direction, effort just ended. To do it, U. S. 
The Office of Production Manage- industry must transform its whole 
ment does not conceive of itself as function from one of producing 
a planning agency to fit defense peacetime goods to producing war 
into American industry. OPM goods. But, once adjusted, Ameri- 
tends to deal with problems only can industry can be irresistible, 
after they arise in acute form. There Within our borders are 60 per¬ 
is a hodgepodge of organization deal- cent of the world’s heavy industry 
ing with defense and there is no and 40 percent of the world’s ca- 
centralized authority. There is very pacity for production. When that 
little effort to view the vast Ameri- vast power is mobilized it will far 
can industrial machine as a whole outstrip anything that any other 
and to gear it to the defense pro- part of the world can offer. 



V The draftees, in battle maneuvers, carried broomsticks for guns 
and were told that when they yelled baf^! it meant they were firing a 
rifie; bangt bang! meant machine gun; sunsh! meant bayonet attack. 

One draftee made an attack on another in a woods, yelling first 
bangy then bat^, bang, then swish. Then he demanded that his victim 
give the signal that he was killed. But the other shouted, “You stupid 
lummox, didn’t you hear me say chug-chug? I’m a tank.” 

—Coouftuted by Colvia W. Bmwa 



From personal experience and later research, 
a mother writes warningly to other women 


Don't Have an Abortion 


Condensed from 'rhe American Mercury 


Jane Ward 


^BORTiON. An ugly “backstairs’* 
word. Nice people pretend 
it doesn’t happen, yet every 
minute of the day some woman in 
the IJ. S. has an abortion. Of these, 
90 percent are wives, not “way¬ 
ward girls.’’ Fifty thousand women 
a year become sterile as a result of 
illegal operations. According to fig¬ 
ures based on the 1940 census, one 
fourth of all maternal deaths are 
caused by aborted pregnancies! 

Few women know the risks they 
run when they undergo an abor¬ 
tion. I didn’t know — until I had 
one. My husband died suddenly 
when I was two months pregnant. 

I already had three children to 
whom I was passionately devoted. 
And now, with no income to sup¬ 
port them, an abortion seemed im¬ 
perative; in desperation, I went to 
the best gynecologist in town. 

“I’m sorry,” he said, “but I 
can’t help you. An abortion is ille¬ 
gal, whether you’re wife or widow. 
Reputable physicians can perform 
only therapeutic abortions — that 
is, when it is necessary to save the 
life or health of the mother.” 

Panic-stricken, I turned to the 
local abortionist, a medical pariah ^ 


Criminal abortion is increasing 
alarmingly. Twenty to forty percent 
of pregnancies terminate in abortions. 

Ignorance is at the root of most 
harm that comes from abortion. 
Every mature woman should know 
its dangers. 

The time has come for serious con¬ 
sideration of this widespread so¬ 
ciological and economic problem. 

— Morris PlshbeLa, M.l>. 

Editor, Journal of the 
American Medical Association 


plying his trade in an upstairs office 
on a back street. He heard my 
story, checked my heart, and 
nodded. “Come tonight at 10. 
Bring $100 in cash.” 

That night the doctor strapped 
me to an antiquated operating 
table. He had no attendant. He 
gave me a whiff of chloroform, but 
never quite enough. When I could 
no longer bear the excruciatingly 
painful scraping of the curette, I 
groaned. Immediately, the sickly 
sweet of chloroform filtered through 
the cone over my face. My heart* 
pounded violently, then faded to a 
whisper. I thought it would stop 
with fear. 

At last the doctor spoke. “All 
over now.” I felt the flood of anti- 


CopyrigU 1941^ ^tbe American Mercury^ tne.y syo Lexington Ave., HT. T. C. 

{The American Mercury^ AugnsU Vd s? 



i8 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


septic fluid. Unbuckled straps re¬ 
leased me. “Rest.’* 

It was midnight before I was 
able to drag myself down the stairs, 
resting frequently to keep from 
fainting. On the third day severe 
pains developed; the doctor had in¬ 
structed me not to call him or any 
other physician, so I suffered alone, 
pulled through. 

But it was an experience I could 
not forget. I had risked my life be¬ 
cause of my ignorance, and recently 
I resolved to learn more about the 
subject and to warn others. I went 
first to the New York Academy of 
Medicine, headquarters of the 
National Committee of Maternal 
Health. How prevalent was abor¬ 
tion? How dangerous? 

“At least half a million abortions 
occur annually in this country,” de¬ 
clares Dr. Robert L. Dickinson, 
secretary of the committee, and an 
authority on gynecology. “Few op¬ 
erations offer more difficulty or un¬ 
certainty. Yet most of them, being 
illegal, are performed by borderline 
M.D.’s uninstructed in expert tech¬ 
nique. Little or no aftercare is 
given. American women pay dearly 
for their ignorance through long 
illness and a high death rate.” 

“For every loo women who die 
^in pregnancy or childbirth, 24 per¬ 
ish from abortion,” declares Dr. 
Thomas Parran, Surgeon General 
of the U. S. Public Health Service. 
“Three fourths of these deaths are 
due to blood poisoning. Hemor¬ 
rhage accounts for many more. 


These appalling. figures represent 
only the known cases and constitute 
only a small fraction of the total 
number.” 

Approximately 70 percent of our 
500,000 annual abortions are crimi¬ 
nal. Some are performed by mid¬ 
wives, some by the woman herself, 
but most by predatory professional 
abortionists. In an investigation 
last year. Special Prosecutor John 
H. Amen found evidence that in 
Brooklyn, N. Y., 100 abortionists 
had performed illegal operations at 
the rate of approximately 20 a week 
each. One testified that he had per¬ 
formed over 20,000 abortions, his 
income running into the hundred 
thousands, before he was convicted. 

An operator in Baltimore per¬ 
formed 4000 abortions in six years. 
Another, 3000 in one year. And on 
the Pacific Coast a chain of abor- 
taria under one management was 
reported in Time to have done a 
million-dollar-a-year business until 
their promoter was arrested. Many 
other cities report extensive abor¬ 
tion practice, with legal convictions 
infinitesimally small. 

Abortionists, for the most part, 
perform a curettage. The surface of 
the uterus is‘scraped with a curette, 
an instrument something like a 
spoon with a long handle and small 
bowl, usually with sharp edges. The 
operator relies only on his sense of 
touch; working in secrecy and haste, 
it is easy for clumsy hands to punc¬ 
ture .«the walls of the uterus, with 
resulting hemorrhage. 



don't have an abortion 


^9 


1941 

Infection also may result from 
the use of unsterile instruments. 
This infection may lead to uterine 
deformities, irregular and painful 
menstruation and sterility. Accord¬ 
ing to Dr. Frederick J. Taussig, au¬ 
thor of the outstanding medical 
book on abortion, sponsored by the 
National Committee on Maternal 
Health, “nine percent of the women 
who have one abortion become 
sterile. And the percentage doubles 
with those having two or more 
abortions.” 

“ I know of no greater tragedy,” 
says Dr, George W. Kosmak, editor 
of the American Journal of Obstet¬ 
rics and Gynecology^ “than the 
young couple who, thinking they 
cannot yet afford a baby, resort to 
an abortion, only to find, when they 
are ready for a child, that the wife 
is sterile, her Fallopian tubes closed 
by inflammation or infection from 
the abortion.” 

And Dr. Taussig warns: “A 
woman who has undergone an abor¬ 
tion has longer labor and is more 
likely to require forceps or a Ca*- 
sarean delivery.” Repeated abor¬ 
tions may cause miscarriage in later 
pregnancies; abnormal conditions 
of the uterus sometimes result in 
dangerous hemorrhage at the birth 
of the next child. 

More dangerous even than curet¬ 
tage is another technique. Various 
pastes or jellies are injected by a 
syringe into the uterus, to induce 
abortion. According to Dr. Taus¬ 
sig, this procedure may result in 


particles of fat or bubbles from the 
injection being forced into the blood 
vessels, causing clot formations and 
leading to sudden death. 

One diabolic trick of the abor¬ 
tionist is to operate on a woman 
who is not actually pregnant. Nerv¬ 
ousness, a cold, and many other 
physical disturbances may delay a 
menstrual period. Dr. Hannah M. 
Stone, Medical Director of the 
Margaret Sanger Birth Control 
Clinic, reported that in a study of 
500 women who came to her for 
pregnancy examinations, she found 
that over 50 percent of those who 
thought they were pregnant were 
not. But the abortionist, caring for 
nothing but his fee, strikes while 
fear is rampant. 

I learned by a personal experi¬ 
ence that this cruel deception is ac¬ 
tually practiced. I visited f New 
York abortionist and asked for an 
examination. In his reception room 
were at least 20 people. A sad-eyed 
man was undoubtedly the father of 
the nervous high school girl by his 
side. A plump mother held her 
daughter’s hand. The atmosphere 
was tense, heavy with foreboding. 
A nurse prepared me for examina¬ 
tion in a booth divided from others, 
as in a beauty parlor. The doctor 
went from patient to patient. I 
never saw his face; the nurse cov¬ 
ered mine. Not a patient there 
could have identified the doctor in 
court. He examined me hastily, 
mumbled something about **two 
months pregnant.” 



20 


THE READER's.DIGEST 


August 


I heard the nurse making an ap¬ 
pointment, telling me to bring ^75 
in cash. Suddenly I asked; “First, 
don’t you think it wise to have a 
pregnancy urine-test made?” 

“As you wish, madam,” she said. 
“ But on looking more carefully at 
the doctor’s schedule, I find he is 
busy this entire month. To wait 
longer would be dangerous for you. 
I suggest you go elsewhere,” 

I wondered how many of the 
women in his waiting room he was 
going to deceive as cruelly as he had 
tried to deceive me. 

There are ways of proving preg¬ 
nancy by laboratory tests. I'hese 
can be made by a reputable hospital 
laboratory. The information se¬ 
cured is confidential; the cost, 
about ^5. Coupled with an exami¬ 
nation by an accredited physician, 
the pregnancy test tells a true story 
— one that would cheat the abor¬ 
tionist of countless cases. 

As a matter of self-protection, 
few abortionists will perform a 
curettage if the pregnancy has gone 
beyond the third month, for there¬ 
after the risks increase. Nor will the 
abortionist operate if a woman has 
a bad heart or other apparent dis¬ 
ease which might cause her to die 
on his hands. Furthermore, most 
abortionists do not administer anes- 
tJiesia, since, in case of fatality, 
post-mortem traces of chloroform, 
gas or ether can be readily detected 
and since, also, the anesthetized pa¬ 
tient must be kept on the premises 
longer than one who has undergone 


the operation without anesthesia. 
Two hours is as long as a woman is 
allowed to stay, regardless of her 
condition. What happens there¬ 
after is none of his concern. He is 
prepared to disprove any connec¬ 
tion with the case. 

So much for the abortionist. 
What about the woman who tries 
to bring about an abortion herself 
by-the use of drugs — many of 
them poison, as phosphorus, mer¬ 
cury, arsenic, lead ? Any drug strong 
enough to cause an abortion is strong 
enough to injure the organs, often 
cauterizing them seriously. Blind¬ 
ness may result; sometimes death. 

There are hundreds of patented 
drugs on the market which women 
buy hoping to produce abortion. 
“But there is no evidence,” says 
Dr. Dickinson of the Academy of 
Medicine, “that any preparation 
taken by mouth can cause the abor¬ 
tion of a woman in normal health. 
If the drugs are ‘successful,’ it is 
probable that she was not pregnant 
in the first place. Common sense 
should indicate that if a safe, effec¬ 
tive abortifacient drug existed, it 
would be used by the medical pro¬ 
fession for therapeutic abortion. 
There is none.” 

Women have tried other almost 
inconceivable methods of aborting 
themselves. They have distorted 
their bodies with violent exercises, 
submitted to electric shocks, prodded 
instruments, catheters, crochet'hooks, 
or even pencils into the uterus — 
with (fire results. 



don’t have an abortion 


21 


1941 


The risk of infection under such 
conditions is practically 100 per¬ 
cent. Hospital records list thou¬ 
sands of patients suffering from 
sepsis and other results of abortion. 
At Bellevue Hospital in New York, 
22 percent of the obstetrical pa¬ 
tients are admitted to repair such 
damages. 

Apart from physical risks, the 
mental strain following an abortion 
is severe. An indefinable feeling of 
sadness and bereavement often pro¬ 
duces a deep melancholy. Psychi¬ 
atrists claim that muclrmarital un¬ 
happiness finds its beginning in the 
nervous irritability lingering after 
an abortion. 

While no sweeping solution of 
the abortion problem is possible, 
certain steps are advocated by many 
doctors and sociologists. 

First: better birth control meth¬ 
ods. Records show that most women 
having abortions are already moth¬ 
ers with several children. Most of 
these women are in the lower in¬ 
come group. A study made by the 
Milbank Memorial Fund discloses 
that for families on relief in New 
York, there were 36 abortions per 
100 women — a higher percentage 
than for any other group, ‘‘Failure 
to provide proper birth control in¬ 
formation for such mothers,” de¬ 
clares Dr. Dickinson, “is to foster 
abortion.” 

There are certain contraceptive 
techniques which are 95 percent 
effective. But such scientific, reli¬ 
able measures are not available to 


all women. “Beyond question, any 
reduction in the incidence of abor¬ 
tion, whether criminal or thera¬ 
peutic, must depend in lai^e part 
upon provision of effective medical 
contraception,” says Dr. Nichol.son 
J. Eastman, obstetrician in chief of 
the Johns Hopkins Ho.spital. 

A second solution is urged by Dr. 
Dickinson: “The present laws should 
be adjusted so that abortions — if 
abortions must be — can be done 
openly by properly trained sur¬ 
geons with proper medical and 
nursing care, rather than in the un¬ 
clean, furtive and dangerous man¬ 
ner now prevalent. It is up to the 
medical profession to lead the way,” 

Less controversial, perhaps, is 
the recommendation of Dr. Morris 
Fishbein: “The time has come for 
some official agency to summon 
leading physicians, lawyers, soci¬ 
ologists and economists to consider 
a solution to the problem of abortion 
and suggest possible legislation.” 

Meanwhile this is essential: To 
know what abortion means, “Once 
women take the subject out of its 
backstairs, experimental stage, dis¬ 
cuss it with their doctors and under¬ 
stand its actual dangers, the battle 
is half won,” says Dr. Taussig. 

Had I known what I have writ¬ 
ten here, I would never have climbed 
those dingy stairs to the abortion¬ 
ist’s that awful night. It is far bet¬ 
ter to have a child, even though you 
think you can’t provide for it, than 
to take the risks that some woman 
takes every minute of the day. 



Harlan Fiskc Stone carries to the Supreme Court 

the traditional liberties of the New England town meeting 


Our New Chief Justice — 

Old-Line American 

By 

William Hard 


H arlan Fiske Stone, new 
Chief Justice of the United 
States, has often been called 
a “liberal” judge. He resents it. 

True, Stone’s opinions have held 
again and again that the law-making 
bodies — Congress and the state 
legislatures —■ have constitutional 
power to enact radical statutes. 
True, he has more often been found 
in agreement with Cardozo and 
Brandeis than with Roberts and 
McReynolds. But he does not think 
of himself as an exponent of “lib¬ 
eral” law; he stands for law, just 
law, with no adjectives. He is 
simply an old-fashioned American, 
with no latter-day gilt trimmings. 
He is of the ninth generation of 
Massachusetts and New Hampshire 
Stones, ^nd his New England heri¬ 
tage is the first key to understand¬ 
ing him. 

The second — and related — fac¬ 
tor is his passion for teaching, which 
^^e developed at Amherst College, 
where he also acq^uired a Phi Beta 
Kappa key and a reputation as a 
football player. His New England 
belief in individual rights and his 
New England passion for teaching 
explain his attitude toward the law. 


and why he is now presiding over 
the high court instead of making a 
fortune in private practice. 

“I have nothing against the world 
as it is,” he has said. “ It has always 
made me very comfortable, but I 
see no reason why my economic 
preferences should be read into the 
Constitution and permitted to in¬ 
terfere with legitimate legislative 
experiment.” 

His father was well-to-do. As 
Calvin Coolidge once remarked, 
“He was a very fine man; he held a 
lot of mortgages in the neighbor¬ 
hood.” It sounded like a prize non 
sequitur, but it wasn’t, I later found 
out. Stone, the elder, was the man 
to whom neighbors in Chesterfield, 
N. H., always turned for a loan 
when things went badly. He never 
could refuse them, and he never 
could bring himself to press for re¬ 
payment. 

Harlan Stone refused to let his 
father pay his way through law 
school. Instead, he went to teach¬ 
ing — at Amherst, at Adelphi Col¬ 
lege, and at Columbia Law School, 
where he took his law degree. 

He»got a clerkship in the elegant 
and lucrative law firm of Sullivan 


22 



OUR NEW CHIEF JUSTICE 3^3 


& Cromwell in New York, but gave 
it up to be a full-time instructor at 
Columbia Law School. Ultimately, 
he became Dean. 

He already had two of his strong¬ 
est beliefs. One is that the courts 
sometimes do not keep abreast of 
the law. A second-is that law must 
keep in touch with life. He once 
dismissed a class in trusts in the 
middle of a lecture, saying; “Gen¬ 
tlemen, you know nothing but 
phrases. Hop the subway and go 
down to Wall Street and see how 
trusts are actually opiated.” 

He took his own advice. He be¬ 
came for a while a partner in Sat- 
terlee, Canfield & Stone — Satter- 
lec being a son-in-law of the elder 
J. P. jMorgan. He subsequently re¬ 
turned to Sullivan & Cromwell, a 
firm in which the deepest and high¬ 
est mysteries of corporate finance 
were daily experiences. But he con¬ 
tinued to teach boys at Columbia. 

From the simple traditions of 
New England life on the soil and in 
the town meeting. Stone inherited 
an instinctive but passionate re¬ 
spect for personality — one’s own 
but also other people’s — and a 
corresponding violent hatred of un¬ 
lawful oppression of anybody’s 
personality, whether he be citizen 
or alien. 

Stone’s first advent into national 
political life came during the last 
war when he accepted Secretary 
Baker’s invitation to examine the 
cases of “conscientious oWeetors.” 
He instantly showed proioiuid re¬ 


spect for their religious convictions. 
He wrote about them: 

However rigorous the State may be in 
repressing the commission of acts inju¬ 
rious to the communityy it may well stay 
its hand before it compels the commis¬ 
sion of acts which violate the conscience. 
... All our history gives confirmation 
of the view that liberty of conscience 
has a social and moral value which 
makes it worthy of preservation. 

His next incursion into national 
political life was when he interrupt¬ 
ed his practice of corporation law 
in New York City to protest with 
the utmost vigor against the unlaw¬ 
ful treatment of friendless aliens 
in the course of the “Red Raids” 
conducted by Attorney General 
Palmer. “An alien,” he said, “is a 
person within the United States 
and is therefore entitled to the due 
process of law guaranteed by the 
Constitution.” 

Through his association with 
Sullivan & Cromwell, great wealth 
was within Stone’s grasp. In 1924 
his fellow student at Amherst, Cal¬ 
vin Coolidge, sat in a bedroom in 
the White House one morning after 
breakfast, looked at Stone, smoked 
a cigar, said nothing for 10 minutes, 
and then said: 

“I’m sending your name to the 
Senate for Attorney General.” 

Stone did not want that job. He 
took it with the understanding that 
he would stay fof only a short time. 
Before the short time was up, 
Coolidge nominated him to the 
Supreme Court. 

Stone now did not hesitate. Here 



24 

was a chance to teach law to the 
whole bar of the whole United 
States. A quarter of a million dol¬ 
lars a year in the practice of law in 
Wall Street? Nice but not enough. 
His brethren on the Court soon 
good-humoredly started calling him 
“Teacher.” 

He presently got a chance to be 
Secretary of State. He declined it. 
He was now teaching — among 
other things — business ethics. 

When the Court said that the 
Interstate Commerce Commission 
had no power to prevent the “re¬ 
organizers” and “protective com¬ 
mitteemen” of the Chicago, Mil¬ 
waukee & St. Paul Railroad from 
getting away with $3,500, cx>d for 
themselves for “reorganization ex¬ 
penses,” Stone joined Holmes and 
Brandeis in dissent, Stone writing 
the opinion. Stone had one advan¬ 
tage over some of the “conserva¬ 
tive” members of the Court. He 
had seen Wall Street with his own 
eyes. 

And when the Court said that 
the federal judiciary, because of 
certain proceedings in a stockhold¬ 
ers* meeting, had no power to pre¬ 
vent the president and four vice- 
presidents of the American Tobacco 
Company from taking more than 
$3,250,000 in salaries and “bo- 
rfuses” and “credits” in one year, 
Stone joined with Brandeis and 
Cardozo in dissent; and again wrote 
the opinion. He knew, from actual 
observation, what stockholders* 
meetings could be. And his dissent¬ 


August- 

ing opinion led to instantly greater 
ethical sensitiveness among corpo¬ 
rate officials. 

Stone*s reputation, by the begin¬ 
ning of 1936, was so impressive 
that there was talk of making him 
the Republican presidential nomi¬ 
nee. At that very moment, joined 
by Brandeis and Cardozo, he handed 
down one of his most famous dis- 
sen'ling opinions, the one in which 
he held that the New Deal Agri¬ 
cultural Adjustment Act was con¬ 
stitutional. This put him at the 
peak of his popular notoriety as a 
“liberal** judge. 

James Roosevelt, while serving 
as secretary to his father, once 
made the mistake of assuming that 
Stone was personally in favor of a 
certain New Deal law because 
Stone had declared it constitutional. 
He was stunned to learn that Stone 
thought the law perfectly constitu¬ 
tional and perfectly foolish. 

And nobody knows better than 
Franklin Delano Roosevelt that 
Stone is no New Dealer; in making 
this appointment the President has 
risen completely above any such 
considerations. 

The closest Stone has ever come, 

I think, to putting his legal views 
and his personal views together into 
one statement is in his essay on the 
Common Law. There he says: 

There comes a point in the organiza¬ 
tion of a complex sodety where individ¬ 
ualism must yield to traffic rules and 
wherft>the right to do as one wills with 
one’s own must bow to zoning ordi- 


THE reader’s digest • 



95 


OUR NEW CHIEF JUSTICE 


nances or even to price-fixing regula¬ 
tions. Just where the line is to be drawn 
between individual liberty and govern¬ 
ment action for the larger good is the 
perpetual question of constitutional 
law. It is necessarily a question of de¬ 
gree which may vary with the time and 
vrith the jplace. 

Stone is no partisan of any ab- 
Isolute. He teaches balance and 
kense. He has them in his personal 
Ilife. 

I He adores books, of which he 
Iseems to have thousands; but he 
I also adores people, of which he 
seems to know myriad^. He has 
immense dignity but out on the 
street he will put the ends of his 
'fingers in his mouth and whistle 
dike a siren for his chauffeur. He 
; plays a lot but keeps fit and works 
' enormously. In the last term of the 
Court he wrote 32 opinions — 
more than any other Justice. 

Many writers seem to think that 
Mr. Stone has helped to take the 
Court into a “revolution.** If what 
they think is a fact, then it is one 
of the most portentous facts in all 
American history. But is it a fact? 

One of the most “ revolutionary ’* 
recent developments in the Court 
is its willingness to sanction certain 
sorts of price-fixing laws —^ a radi¬ 
cal move toward state control of 
business, some thought. Here is the 
history of it: 

In 1927 and again in 1928, Stone, 
Holmes and Brandeis were in the 
minority when they asserted that 
state legislatures had power to 
control prices on theater tickets 


and fees charged by employment 
agencies. In 1934, before Roosevelt 
had made the Court a political issue 
and before he had a single ap¬ 
pointee on it, the Court came 
around to the dissenters* point of 
view and decided New York State 
had the right to fix the price of 
milk. The opinion was written by 
that flaming “revolutionist,** Jus¬ 
tice Roberts. 

The two most far-reaching New 
Deal laws are the National Labor 
Relations Att and the Wages and 
Hours Act. Both have been held 
constitutional. On any fanciful 
new grounds? No. 

Stone*s opinion for the Court 
this year holding the Wages and 
Hours Act constitutional was based 
squarely on a decision by Chief 
Justice John Marshall in 1824. 

Justice Stone pointed out that 
from the days of the first great 
Chief Justice the Court had held 
that, while powers not granted to 
the United States were reserved to 
the states, the Congress certainly 
had the specific power to regulate 
commerce between the states. And 
regulation of conditions of manu¬ 
facture is an appropriate means of 
regulating interstate commerce in 
the article manufactured. Stone 
observed that a case in which the 
Court had held to the contrary in. 
1918 had long since exhausted its 
vitality as a precedent. “It should 
be and now is overruled.** 

Is this “revolution**? Or is it 
restoration? I say it is restoration. 



26 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


The Court today grants to the 
Congress the full powers which the 
Constitution in truth has always 
given it. Does the Congress use 
those powers foolishly? You have 
your remedy, your democratic 
remedy. Elect a wiser Congress. 
Don’t expect the Court to do your 
voting for you. Do your own vot¬ 
ing. That’s all. 

Stone defines the present course 
of the Court as a “ shift of empha¬ 
sis.” The Old Court went uncon¬ 
stitutionally too far toward curbing 
the discretion of legislatures and of 
administrative tribunals. The New 
Court, in the course of its “shift” 
from that error, may fall into an 
error in the opposite direction. If 
so. Stone will dissent. He has al¬ 
ready done so, on numerous occa¬ 
sions. 

One case involved a National 
I.abor Relations Board finding that 
the Phelps Dodge Corporation had 
refused to hire two men because 
they were active unionizers. For 
this offense, the Board ruled that 
the company must hire the men 
and give them back pay. The Su¬ 
preme Court held the company 
must comply with the order. But 
Stone, Hughes joining him, dis¬ 
sented. He did not believe, he 
wrote, that Congress ever had 
given the Labor Board authority 
to compel an employer to hire ap¬ 
plicants for work who had never 
been in his employ, and give them 
back pay. 

Recently the Court allowed the 


NLRB, in its discretion, to exclude 
testimony that might have proved 
that the workers in the Crystal 
City (Mo.) plant of the Pittsburgh 
Plate Glass Company wanted an in¬ 
dependent union of their own, dif¬ 
ferent from the union in the other 
company plants. Stone, joined by 
Hughes and Roberts, dissented. 
The present Labor Board is now 
following, in similar cases. Stone’s 
notions of correct administrative 
policy. 

But Stone’s two greatest recent 
dissents went to issues very much 
deeper. Last year the Court held 
that Jersey City could not curb the 
right of free speech of citizens. 
That, said Stone, is not enough. It 
is not the proper basis for the de¬ 
cision. The Fourteenth Amend¬ 
ment to the Constitution gives 
“the equal protection of the laws” 
to **any person^* It protects not 
only law-abiding citizens but law- 
abiding aliens. 

Last year, too. Stone dissented 
all alone when the Court held that 
the Minersville (Pa.) School Dis¬ 
trict had the power to exact a sa¬ 
lute to the flag from two otherwise 
perfectly law-abiding young Je¬ 
hovah’s Witnesses, who won’t sa¬ 
lute anything because the Book of 
Exodus says not to “ bow down” to 
anything on earth. 

The Court justified the coercion 
of these people by talking about 
the need of “national unity” and 
“national unity” and “national 
unity” to a degree almost German. 



27 


OUR NEW CHIEF JUSTICE 


1941 

It was a petty case, but it involved 
a basic principle and Stone made it 
the occasion of some of his most 
stirring sentences. He said: 

Expressions of loyalty, when volun¬ 
tarily given, may promote national 
unity. It is quite another thing to say 
that compulsory expressions of it in 
violation of religious convictions are so 
important to national unity as to leave 
a school board free to exact them in 
spite of the constitutional guarantee of 
freedom of religion. The Constitution 
expresses more than the conviction of 
tlie people that democratic processes 
must be preserved at all costs. It also ex¬ 
presses a faith and a comtnSid that free¬ 
dom of mind and of spirit must be^pre- 
served^ a freedom which government must 
obey if it is to adhere to that justice and 
moderation without which no free govern¬ 
ment can persist. 

Those words take us through 
Stone’s mind to his very heart; 
and they are prophetic. We are 
moving faster and faster into the 
intolerances of war. Measure after 
measure will be taken against 
minorities not only of aliens but 
also of citizens in the name of “na- 
:ional unity.” Attempt after at- 
:empt will be made to impair the 
‘freedom of mind and of spirit” 
)f citizens who are perfectly loyal 


to the institutions of America but 
out of harmony in some degree 
with official policy. 

Against that torrent of coercion, 
whenever it passes constitutional 
limits, there will be in the Court at 
least one dissenting and protesting 
voice, the voice of that antique 
American, that lawyer who is in all 
circumstances just simply for the 
law, and who cannot be deterred 
from speaking by either business- 
prosperity conservatives or na¬ 
tional-unity liberals. 

I saw Stone recently at Estes 
Park, Colorado. He was proceeding 
up a hill with that heavy rolling 
walk of his, the walk of a football 
guard on a muddy field. The hotel 
clerk looked at him massively 
climbing and said: 

“He’s the biggest shot we ever 
had here and demands the least 
attention.” 

That’s natural. To Stone of 
Chesterfield, New Hampshire, we 
are all members of the same town 
meeting and we are all equal in¬ 
heritors, even if we got here in 
1941, of what Simon Stone, his 
first American ancestor, came here 
to get in 1635. 


Gefi, 


efmtitons 


Punctuality: The art of arriving for an appointment just in 
time to be indignant at the tardiness of the other party. 

—Liverpool 'Echo 

Rare volume: A borrowed book that comes back. 


ChMi defmtion of impatience: Waiting in a hurry. 



Abby, Her Fami; 

Condensed from The Atlantic Monthly 
Margaret Buell Wilder 


r BEGAN with a chance remark 
at the age of seven on a Sun¬ 
day afternoon in the country. 
“When I grow up, I shall have a 
farm.” Her father and I smiled, 
perceiving nothing ominous. 

The next ultimatum — slightly 
more disturbing — was delivered 
about a year later at a shabby 
Georgia roadside stand where we 
had paused on our way home from 
Florida. Abby’s red pigtails stuck 
out at right angles to her freckled 
face as she looked down a haughty 
nose at the general squalor. 

“Don’t you like your chicken?’* 
1 asked. 

“I haven’t tasted it,” she said 
distantly. “I was thinking that 
when I grow up I shall have a neat 
tearoom on the edge of my farm. 
Made of logs, with gingham cur¬ 
tains. The maids will wear starched 
frills on their caps and I will box 
their ears if they are late.” 

With a gasp and a hasty look at 
the offended proprietor, I herded 
Abby toward the car. 

By now vaguely disquieted, and 
•thinking to take up the slack of our 
eight-year-old’s morbid rural yearn¬ 
ings, I bought her a thoroughbred 
mare, and boarded it in one of 
those sweet-scented, spit-and-poi- 
ish Connecticut stables. 


It worked — for about a week. 
Then one day, accusingly, she led 
the animal up to me and exclaimed: 
“Just look at this horse's feet! 
Those shoes will hardly hold! Now 
if we had a farm . . .” 

I groaned and looked away from 
those remorseless eyes that bored 
through my makeshift soul. “But 
darling, we can’t have a farm,” I 
began for the hundredth time. “We 
have a lease. Your father works in 
Wall Street. Have you any idea 
what that means?” 

But somehow during the next 
few weeks a large dog, two rabbits, 
and five cats were added unto us. 
Though otherwise extremely prud¬ 
ish, Abby did not quail before 
the facts of reproduction. Kittens 
aplenty, and frequently a-borning, 
were to be found anywhere from 
our best shoes to the kitchen 
sink. “That’s all right,” she would 
reassure us. “The mother will 
clean it up. But on the farm 1 
may have to help the lambs get 
born.” 

Something inside me snapped. 
**What farm, Abby, what farm? 
We’re not living on a farm! How 
many times . . .?” 

“It would be nice if we had a 
pig — now,” she said implacably. 

Tlfe real estate restrictions for 


Copyright /gpo^ ‘the Atlantic Monthly Co., 8 Arlington St.^ Boston^ Mass, 
t8 (Xhe Atlantic Monthly^ Fciruaryt '40) 



ABBY, HER FARM 


29 


our residential section very defi¬ 
nitely prohibited pigs. 

“But how would they know?” 
Abby argued reasonably. “The cops 
don't even catch kidnapers. How 
would they catch a pig?” 

“By smell, if.nothing else,” I 
muttered. “Now for heaven’s sake 
keep still about it! Pigs are out” 

Scarcely were the words out of 
my mouth when the P.T.A. an¬ 
nounced its annual party — with a 
greased pig to be given away to 
that male parent lucky enough to 
catch it barehanded. 

The odds of 200-to-i against Ab- 
by’s father’s catching the pig must 
have challenged his spirit, for when 
the time came to loose the creature 
upon the school lawn he had organ¬ 
ized a “pig circle” with all 200 
fathers holding hands. Someone 
sprang the box lid, the frenzied 
shoat made a beeline for the strong¬ 
est link in the chain, and Abby’s 
next-to-fondest dream came true. 
She had a pig. 

Burning with mother love, she 
husbanded the poor creature into 
its box, then shut it in our car. 
“You and Pop can go back to the 
party now,” she said firmly. “You 
aren’t enough like other parents as 
it is.” 

“ But that greasy pig will get out 
of his box all over the upholstery! 
Besides, he’s hurt'— he’s groaning. 
He should be killed at once!” Then, 
even more crossly, “What do you 
mean, Tm not like other mothers?” 

Her eyes never left the boxful of 


pig. “Well, you aren’t. You don’t 
knit, you never make cookies and 
you haven’t any bosom.” 

I threw up my hands and allowed 
myself to be led away, muttering, 
by her ribald father. When we got 
back the pig had been freed. “It 
had claustro — claustra — that 
thing you always say you get in the 
subway,” Abby explained. “Any¬ 
way — pigs are very nervous.” 

Stricken, we stared inside the 
car. It had indeed been very nerv¬ 
ous — all over the upholstery. We 
considered the poor panting crea¬ 
ture at bay on the back seat; then 
we considered Abby. “I think,” 
said her father heavily, “it would 
be cheaper to trade her in for some¬ 
thing civilized.” 

Christmas brought only one wist¬ 
ful request, for a female goat — 
ungranted. “But we could drink 
the milk and save money,” she pro¬ 
tested. 

Her terrifying blend of logic and 
economy finally took its toll of our 
resistance. Every time the market 
went down, her father would gaze 
across the dinner table and say, 
“Abby, tell me about the farm. 
Could we live on ensilage?” 

By New Year’s he had left on a 
business trip and I was alone with 
Abby and the Rotation of Crops. 
Every evening she worked on jp 
patchwork quilt before the fire, or 
jotted down wheat statistics from 
the Book of Knowledge. 

“What is that book you seem to 
be making?” 1 asked one night. 



30 


THE reader’s digest 


Aligns, 


“My farm book.” Hesitantly she 
brought it to me — a thin, card¬ 
board affair tied with green yarn 
and illustrated with beautiful pink 
and black water colors of Poland 
China hogs. 

I stared at the first page and 
read: “ In the beginning of the 20th 
century, Mr. Aaron Aaronsohn dis¬ 
covered a wild wheat growing on 
the dry and rocky slopes of Mt. 
Herman.” Page two was solid with 
statistics about the yields one may 
expect from an acre of corn. The 
next page, in a fine spirit of non 
sequitur, bore only this avowal: 
“ Nothing Will Be Bought From A 
Store. I Shall Weave My Clothes 
And Wear Long Hair.” 

“Abby!” I cried. “Is this why 
you won’t have your hair cut? Is 
this why I go through hell and high 
water every day with those pigtails 
wrapping themselves around the 
brush like a horsetail?” I peered 
sharply at the offending braids and 
remembered how she measiired their 
weekly progress with a piece of 
string. “Will you have spring shear¬ 
ings with the sheep?” I asked. 

“If you’ll turn to the end of the 
book,” she said, unmoved, “you’ll 
see what the farm’s going to be 
like. Then you won’t worry so.” 
Rebuked by her dignity, I felt 1 
•might as well make sure before 
looking up child psychologists. I 
turned to a sort of prose poem, en¬ 
titled simply “My Farm.” 

I want the kind of farm where chick¬ 
ens run loose in the front yard, and a 


timid long-laged colt pokes his inquis- 
urtive nose out from his mother’s back 
to stare at you in surprise, then kick up 
his heels and go flying across the fild. 

I will hear the tinkling of bells made 
by the big brony Merion sheep as they 
drift slowly along, following their 
leader. 1 will see the big fat mother sow 
and her recent family grunting for food 
and enjoying themselves in the cool in¬ 
viting mud. 

Then I will go slowly through my 
fids of waveing corn to a low rambling 
farmhouse nestled among the lilac 
trees. I will enter. There will be a smell 
of good tilings in the air. 1 will see 
sausage broiling on the stove, and the 
plad gingham curtains fluttering in the 
windows. 

The sunbeams will find their way 
across the thick planked oaken floors to 
the pewter plates on the mantell. The 
flowers on the tabic will match the crazy 
patchwork quilt on my high wooden 
bed. The sheets will be old and fine; 
there will be a rag rug on the floor. 

Yea, though I walk through the 
valley . . . my mind subconsciously 
went on in the rhythm of those 
paragraphs. Then I closed the Farm 
Book and laid it down gently. 

“I see I was wrong about those 
pigtails,” I said. “They’ll be vety 
proper — if we can keep them out 
of the churn!” 

With a wild whoop she was upon 
me, and the guerrilla warfare of two 
long years was wiped out with one 
tremendous hug. “Will you wire 
Pop right away — will you tell him 
to buy a farm ?” she shrieked. 

Clinging to reason with one en¬ 
feebled hand, I managed to.j^ush 
her off to bed without that 
criminating Yes. 



1941 

An empty victory. Next morn¬ 
ing I found on my desk this con¬ 
clusive document in a familiar hand: 

Dept, of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. 
dear sirs. 

My father is going to by a farm so I 
wish to be prepared to whatever might 
follow. Could you send me instructions 


3 ^ 

for the care of theese certen domesticate 
animals. 

a few cows of Guernsey breed, a few 
of the harder things about horses, goats 
(the best breed) sheep and where to by 
the best stock, 
p.s. right away. 

I picked up the phone. “Western 
Union,” I said. “And hurry 


ABBY, HER FARM 


Total Defense in Nature 

s" 

By Alan Devoe 


M any defense methods and devices 
used in modern war have amaz¬ 
ing counterparts in the protective 
measures evolved ages ago by Nature 
for creatures of the woods, fields and 
sea. 

Artillery. The bombardier beetle car¬ 
ries a cannon — a peculiar gland in its 
abdomen — and when it fires a blast of 
evil-smelling gas accompanied by a 
bang like that, of a tiny popgun, its 
enemies, predaceous ground beetles and 
birds, retreat in panic. 

Grapples. News dispatches report that 
the British have developed a projectile 
which, upon exploding, releases metal 
filaments that enmesh a raiding air¬ 
plane’s propeller. Similarly, the para- 
mecium, a protozoan found in ponds, 
protects itself by shooting forth a mass 
of grappling threads that entangle the 
foe while the paramCcium escapes. 

Smoke screen. To mask itself from a 
prowling predator, that interrupts its 
search for food on the ocean floor, the 
squid ejects a cloud of inky fluid under 


cover of which it whisks away to a rock- 
cranny home port until danger passes. 

Camouflage. Of the countless ex¬ 
amples of camouflage in Nature, the 
spider crab has the most astonishing 
trick. Taking cuttings of seaweed, it 
chews the ends to give them better pur¬ 
chase, then affixes them among the 
hooked bristles that grow on top of its 
shell, where they take root and effec¬ 
tively conceal the wily crab. 

Parachutes. The common spider of 
our woods and meadows clambers up 
a tree and spins out a long floating 
filament of silk; when this catches the 
breeze the spider lets go of its perch, 
and after it has soared the desir^ dis¬ 
tance it partly reefs in its'parachute and 
thus floats gently to the ground. 

Air amhat. As the pursuit plane’s 
greater speed and maneuverability en¬ 
able it to rout the bomber, the hum¬ 
mingbird drives large hawks and other 
marauders away from its nest by dart¬ 
ing at them and aiming its lancelike 
little beak at their eyes. 



^ First news from a little group of front-line 
fighters against h^h blood pressure — 
a greater menac^ro^iSlnnd than cancer 

Science Challenges the Master Killer 

By 

Paul de Kruif 


I AST May, at the Indianapolis 
City Hospital, I saw the 
^ first gleam of chemical hope 
for the victims of high blood pres¬ 
sure. 'Phis master killer, which the 
doctors call “hypertension,” re¬ 
sults in the death of a thousand 
Americans a day. But now at last 
our death fighters are hot on its 
trail; chemists are developing a 
new remedy. Though still crude, 
even dangerous, this remedy is al¬ 
ready giving a small advance guard 
of patients new life on borrowed 
time. 'I'hey are playing the role of 
guinea pigs in one of the most 
momentous research battles of 
medical history. 

These Indianapolis victims are 
kept alive by a precious, experi¬ 
mental brew not a drop of which is 
yet available to physicians. But 
while we await its perfection, 
there*s hope for hypertensives, as 
we shall presently see, in the skill 
and daring of the surgeon's knife. 

The triple threat that hangs over 
all hypertensives — failing kidneys, 
heartwreck, sudden apoplexy — 
kills twice as many as does cancer, 
the second most frequent cause of 
death. And as a rule, especially in 
the case of men, high blood pres¬ 


sure is even more rapidly fatal than 
cancer. Ordinary medical treat¬ 
ment — rest, sedative drugs — can 
do litlle or nothing to arrest its 
progress. Tragically often, it at¬ 
tacks the young and vigorous. 

Now and again this always 
ominous hypertension turns ful¬ 
minating, explosive. The victims* 
thoughts are confused, their eye¬ 
sight rapidly fails, their heads may 
pound with iinsoothable pain. This 
galloping hypertension is called 
“malignant,” as distinguished from 
the milder and much commoner 
phase which physicians have named 
“e^ential.** Probably “nialignant” 
anH ^‘essential” hypertension are 
two asj>ects of the same thing — 
two different speeds of the same 
engine of death. 

In 1937 Dr. Harry Goldblatt of 
Western Reserve University, Cleve¬ 
land, Ohio, made an epochal dis¬ 
covery. He gave dogs experimental 
high blood pressure, exactly mim¬ 
icking the hypertension of human 
beings. For many years physicians ^ 
had known that wrecked kidneys 
were somehow tied up with high 
Blood pressure, but they did not 
know whether the sick kidneys 
caused t^ lugh blood pressure — 



SCIENCE CHALLENGES THE MASTER KILLER 


S 3 


* or vice versa. Now Harry Gold- 
blatt clamped the artery leading to 
a dog’s kidney, without shutting 
ofF the blood supply completely. 
Gradually, the dog’s blood pressure 
went up and up. 

It was clear that when the blood 
supply was disturbed the kidney 
answered the insult by brewing a 
poison which raised the blood pres¬ 
sure. Because if you removed that 
clamp from the artery the dog’s 
blood pressure quickly returned to 
normal. And it was found that a 
healthy kidney has power to coun¬ 
teract the damaged kidney’s poi¬ 
son. Remove one healthy kidney 
from a normal dog. Then clamp 
down the blood supply of his re¬ 
maining kidney. The resulting high 
blood pressure is explosive, terrific, 
malignant. 

So it is the kidney’s blood 
supply, gone haywire, that’s at 
the bottom of hypertension. The 
healthy kidney contains a chem¬ 
ical something to guard against the 
poison released by the sick kidney. 
The chemical cause and cure of 
hypertension are both hidden in 
the kidneys. 

Two years ago. Dr. T. R. Harri¬ 
son and his co-workers at Vander¬ 
bilt University in Nashville, Tenn., 
discovered a kidney extract that 
temporarily downed the high blood 
pressure not only of experimental 
animals but. of hypertensive hu¬ 
man beings. Giving no details, they 
%t the medical world agog. And, 
independently. Dr. Irvine H. Page 


and his co-workers at the Lilly 
Laboratory in Indianapolis got 
hypertension’s chemical culprit — 
which they called “angiotonin” — 
crystal pure out of the kidneys and 
blood of hypertensive animals. 
They tested angiotonin’s power to 
raise blood pressure upon the ar¬ 
teries of the ears of rabbits and the 
arteries of the tails of dogs. Angio- 
tonin, injected by the laboratory 
workers into their own bodies, shot 
their blood pressures up for a short 
while to the dangerous ceiling 
which, when it persists, is fatal to 
human beings. 

But remember that the kidney 
manufactures both the poison and 
its antidote. How to separate them ? 
At the Lilly Laboratory, vast 
chemistry upon many thousands 
of pounds of pig and bovine kid¬ 
neys finally produced an extract 
which acted as policeman of the 
poisonous angiotonin. To animals 
suffering from experimental high 
blood pressure, the Lilly workers 
now gave this antidote. And found 
that they could drive a sick dog’s 
blood pressure from its dangerous 
peak down to normal, and from 
there down into a deadly cellar of 
no blood pressure at all — if they 
gave too much. The extract was 
miraculous: it could restore sight to 
the animal’s failing eyes; a shot of 
it brought a sick dog out of a coma 
back to playful health in a single 
day. But, like insulin, you had to 
keep giving it to them if they were 
to remain healthy and alive. 



34 


THE reader's digest 


At the Indianapolis City Hos¬ 
pital this extract is being tried on a 
little company of human hyperten¬ 
sives, whose reward for being val¬ 
iant guinea pigs often is unhof>ed- 
for health. I was deeply stirred by 
my visit to this club, whose mem¬ 
bership is as exclusive as it is 
momentous for humanity. Its first 
members, desperately- sick with 
malignant hypertension, should by 
this time either have all l-xjen dead 
or well within the valley of the 
shadow. . . . 

The original members of the 
club who became the experimental 
human animals for Dr. Page’s kid¬ 
ney extracts had before them a 
simple daily choice: do we prefer 
the discomfort, yes, the danger, of 
these injections to the certain 
death that will come if we stop the 
treatment ? 

For the lifesaving extract had a 
two-edged power. A given batch of 
it, one day soothing the pounding 
pain in the heads of the sufferers, 
next day might shock one of them 
to the brink of death. And the in¬ 
jections, shot into hip muscles, are 
still painful. Yet there is gaiety 
among these people who are hang¬ 
ing onto life by their eyebrows. 
They rub their hips for a high sign 
as they pass each other in the hos¬ 
pital halls. 

One of the veterans, a colored 
woman, was brought to the hos¬ 
pital 16 months ago, almost blind 
and near to dying. Today she can 
read fine print, and takes care of 


August 

her home and her children. An ap¬ 
parently healthy human being, she 
is ghostlike when one remembers 
that only a little daily syringeful of 
dark fluid stands between her and 
death. By their miraculous return 
to life, these people are giving the 
Indianapolis workers courage to 
sl(^ ahead and develop a safe, pow¬ 
erful kidney extract that can, in the 
future, be used to control the hun¬ 
dreds of thousands of cases of high 
blood pressure that are not malig¬ 
nant. 

Page and his men do not despair 
of final victory. They remember 
how Dr. George Minot, in the 
early stages of his discovery, could 
keep alive people doomed by per¬ 
nicious anemia only by forcing 
them to eat enormous amounts of 
liver every day. Now a single injec¬ 
tion of perfected liver extract once 
a fortnight keeps such people alive 
and healthy. Page and his men also 
feel confident because they are 
working toward perfection of their 
kidney extract under Dr. G. H, A. 
Clowes. And it was the chemical 
wisdom of Dr. Clowes that helped 
to make insulin, once crude and 
dangerous, safe and available to all 
dial^tics at a cost of six cents a day. 

Clowes and Page have only one 
plea: that the physicians of Amer¬ 
ica, and the hundreds of thousands 
of high blood pressure victims, will 
be patient, will not harass them 
with demands for kidney extract 
which they cannot yet provide. The 
stuff is ^mysterious, incalculabie, 



IQAl SCIENCE CHALLENGES THE MASTER KILLER 3$ 


Still in the laboratory stage. Only a 
little can be produced at a time. 
'Every precious milligram of it must 
be saved for the small group now 
under treatment. As fast as it can 
be perfected and made elsewhere 
in larger quantities, for the benefit 
of more victims, this will be done. 

Meanwhile, from the surgeon’s 
knife, comes another promise for 
many of the nation’s hypertensives. 
It lies in an operation developed 
by Dr. Max Minor Peet, professor 
of surgery at the University of 
Michigan. 

Eight years ago, on a stretcher, 
there came to the University’s hos¬ 
pital at Ann Arbor an electrician 
suflFering from malignant hyperten¬ 
sion. He was as good as blind, as 
good as dead. On this doomed man 
Dr. Peet took a million-to-one gam¬ 
ble, a surgical stab in the dark. He 
cut all the nerves controlling the 
little arteries of the organs in that 
dying man’s abdomen, relaxing a 
vast bed of blood vessels, giving his 
high blood pressure a safety valve. 
Today this electrician is still alive 
and working — a truly historic 
man! — cured of galloping, malig¬ 
nant hypertension. 

Dr. Peet and his staff have since 
done over 700 of these operations 
upon hypertension sufferers, both 
essential and malignant. The sub¬ 
sequent history of the first 350 
cases — most of them in the active 
decades of life — has just been 
reported. 

The operation significantly low¬ 


ered the high blood pressure of 
more than half of them. 

More than 80 percent had complete 
or marked relief from headaches, 
sleeplessness, mental confusion. 

After long incapacity, over half 
have been able to return to work at 
their former occupations. 

Careful checking by the experts 
of the eye and medical departments 
of Michigan’s University Hospital 
shows that, after the operation, 
there has been marked improve¬ 
ment or return to normal of kid¬ 
neys, of eyes, of hearts — in over 
half these high blood pressure 
cases. And in the great majority 
this improvement persists. 

Does the operation prolong life? 
Dr. Peet and his co-workers com¬ 
pared the fate of one group of 
malignant hypertension victims 
upon whom they had operated with 
another group which had had medi¬ 
cal treatment — meaning rest and 
sedatives — alone. After five years, 
99 percent of those treated only 
medically were dead. . . . 

But after five ytarsy33 percent of 
the operated ones were still alive. 

This operation is not for people 
over 55 who are sufiFering from 
hardening of the arteries. Yet there 
is hope for many of these if they 
follow carefully the regime pre¬ 
scribed by their physicians. 

At the service of the younger 
hypertensives, there is a small but 
growing number of American sur¬ 
geons already skilled in this life¬ 
saving operation. Their names are 



THE READER S DIGEST 


available to physicians whose pa¬ 
tients wish to take the relatively 
small risk involved in this chance 
for a return to health and longer 
life. And while the operation is a 
difBcult one, and not always suc¬ 
cessful, Dr. Peetis certain that many 
more skilled surgeons could be 
trained to do it. 


Surgery offers the only relief for 
those seriously afflicted with hyper¬ 
tension, until that day, perhaps not 
very distant, when we shall have a 
chemical able to control—just as 
insulin now controls diabetes — 
the early ravages of high blood 
pressure, mankind’s worst natural 
enemy. 


cJ^enujtc (^Jursmi 


oOoB Burns used to tell a story about his 
scientific uncle, who went up on a mountain back of Van Buren and found 
a huge rock poised on a cliflf. He worked for hours and finally dislodged 
the monster, and it went bounding down the mountainside, headed 
straight for the town. Behind it, running as hard as he could, was Bob’s 
uncle. The big boulder crashed through a livery stable, shot down the 
main street, went through the First National Bank and finally came to 
rest in the rear of that institution. The townspeople were gathering from 
all sides when Bob’s uncle arrived on the run, shoved everyone aside and 
approached the rock, which he scrutinized carefully on all sides. Finally 
he straightened up and said; 

“Nope. No moss.” — II. Alien Smith, Low Man on a Totem Pole (Doubleday, Doran) 


i/:/ MAN WENT to a baker and asked him to 
bake a cake in the form of the letter S. The baker said he would need a 
week to prepare the necessary tins. TTie customer agreed, and returned a 
week later. Proudly the baker showed him the cake. 

“ Oh, but you misunderstood me,” the customer said. “ You have made 
it a block letter and I wanted script.” 

“Well,” said the baker, “if you can wait another week I can make one 
in script.” 

A week later the customer came back, and was delighted with the cake. 
“Exactly what I wanted,” he said. 

“Will you take it with you,” asked the baker, “or shall I send it to your 
house?” 

“Don’t bother,” said the customer. “If you’ll just give me a knife and 
fork I’ll eat it right here.” 

— Quoted by Max Eaianao, Enhyment t^Lat^uer (Smoa and Sclnutcr) 



An expert reveals Hitler’s plans to tiansplant whole 
industries and populations, and to make Europe a Nazi 
colony, independent of all trade from overseas 

Hitler^s Blueprint for a German Europe 

Condensed from The Nation 
Peter F. Drucker 


W HEN they discuss their 
plans for the benefit of 
foreigners, especially Amer¬ 
icans, the Nazi leaders utter hon¬ 
eyed words about “cooperation” 
in a free, prosperous and peaceful 
Nazi-Kurope. 

Actually the Nazis are preparing 
for a Europe completely and per¬ 
manently dominated by Germany. 
They plan to rearrange Europe’s 
economy so that no conquered 
country will ever be able to rise in 
revolt. They plan a self-sufficient 
Europe, independent of raw ma¬ 
terial purchases overseas, particu¬ 
larly in the United States and Latin 
America. They plan to move mil- 

Peter Drucker, by birth an Austrian, 
by profession a writer, lecturer and econo¬ 
mist, has an expert’s intimate knowledge, 
based on published and private sources, of 
the Europe Hitler is planning to rearrange. 
He has been political and financial cor¬ 
respondent for German and English news¬ 
papers, and an economist for a London 
international banking house. His specialty 
is the Balkans, where he has traveled ex¬ 
tensively. A frequent contributor to Ameri¬ 
can magazines, Mr. Drucker is now pro¬ 
fessor of economics at Sarah Lawrence 
College, Bronxville, N. Y. He is the author 
of a widely discussed book, The End of 
Economic Man, 


lions of people, to build large in¬ 
dustries where none ever existed 
before, and to destroy industrial 
life where it has flourished for cen¬ 
turies. 

Since the war began, German 
experts have been working on the 
economic blueprints for Nazi-Eu- 
rope. Today these plans are com¬ 
pleted, and many of them are already 
being translated into facts. 

Expulsion of the French inhabit¬ 
ants of Alsace and Lorraine may 
seem just another chapter in the 
age-old fight over these provinces. 
Yet similar expulsions have been go¬ 
ing on in Holland, Poland, Czecho¬ 
slovakia. The deported natives are 
being replaced by Germans. Alto¬ 
gether perhaps nine million people 
have already been forcibly moved; 
another ten millions are still to be 
driven out of their homes. 

This is not just nationalist fa¬ 
naticism. The main purpose is to 
“Germanize” the European steel 
and chemical industries. Almost all 
the heavy industry of Europe is* 
concentrated in two narrow belts: 
one along the Rhine, the other be¬ 
side the chain of mountains sep¬ 
arating Bohemia from Germany. 


Copyright 1^41 ^ 'the Nation^ Ine.^ SS Eiftb Avt., N. T. C. 
{The Nation, July /Jt, '4/) 


3 T 



THE reader's digest 


ss 

Before the Blitzkrieg, about half 
the area of these two industrial 
belts was within the German bor¬ 
ders; now Hitler proposes to make 
all of them German — not only 
politically, but racially as well. 

“Germanization** of these dis¬ 
tricts is only one of the measures 
to make impossible any revolt by 
the defeated nations. The Nazis 
propose to keep them permanently 
disarmed. And no one knows better 
than the Nazi rulers that modern 
wars are fought at the assembly line 
in factories behind the front. Con¬ 
sequently, only Germans will own 
and operate any of the basic in¬ 
dustries. 

Germany will have a monopoly 
of airplanes, tanks and mechanized 
equipment. The German engineers 
who arrived in France with the 
first army units carried complete 
inventories of French aircraft plant 
equipment, all of which was prompt¬ 
ly shipped to Germany. The Paris 
automobile works of Citroen are 
being transferred to Metz in Ger¬ 
man-annexed Lorraine. Where a 
non-German population cannot be 
replaced by Germans, the blueprint 
calls for the destruction of heavy 
industrial plants. The French and 
Dutch chemical industry, wherever 
it is not in the same districts as the 
steel industry, is to be scrapped. So 
is the Belgian automobile industry, 
the famous old shipyards of Rotter¬ 
dam, Antwerp and Brest, and the 
Dutch electrical and machinery 
industry. The very reliable Swiss 


August 

Neue Zurcher Zeitung recently re¬ 
ported that much of the machinery 
of the great PhlUipps electrical 
works, which used to produce some 
of the finest electrical appliances in 
the world, has been shipped from 
Holland to Germany. 

Germany is to be the only coun¬ 
try on the Continent to manufac¬ 
ture steel, engines, automobiles, to 
own chemical plants or research 
laboratories. As says the Schwarze 
KorpSy the newspaper of Hitler’s 
bodyguard, “We don’t want even 
the tradition of heavy industry, of 
mechanical engineering and of 
chemical research to survive out¬ 
side of Germany.” 

To supplement these monopo¬ 
lies, Germany is to have control of 
Europe’s credit. A few weeks ago, 
in The New Tork TimeSy was an 
official report that the Nazi gov¬ 
ernment has formed a company 
with a monopoly on all re-insurance 
business on the European Conti¬ 
nent. Though it was tucked away 
on a back page, this is fully as im¬ 
portant news as the Nazi conquest 
of yet another small country. By 
establishing this monopoly, the 
Nazis have at one stroke got hold 
of a quarter to a third of the sav¬ 
ings of Europe’s masses, to be used 
for Nazi political purposes. This 
will make it almost impossible for 
conquered countries to shake off 
the German yoke without hurting 
thousands of their own small in¬ 
vestors. So an ancient and benefi¬ 
cial institution becomes an instru- 



hitler’s blueprint for a german EUROPE 


SP 




ment of permanent Nazi oppression. 

Yet even these controls are not 
'sufficient: the Nazi planners do not 
regard German rule as safe so long 
as Europe is dependent upon food¬ 
stuffs and raw materials from over¬ 
seas. Hitler, himself inland-born 
and a stranger to the sea, does not 
put his trust in a German bid for 
sea power as did the Kaiser. In¬ 
stead, the G^ntinent of Europe must 
be reorganized so as to feed itself 
and provide its raw materials from 
territories which can be defended 
by land and air. (Hence the sudden 
drive for Russia’s Ukrainian riches.) 
This self-sufficient Europe is the 
most ambitious and revolutionary 
of all Hitler’s designs, far exceeding 
anything Napoleon ever dreamed 
of. 

Eastern Europe even today yields 
almost all the wheat, oil and copper 
for the German war machine. It is 
also scheduled to become Europe’s 
main producer of cheap industrial 
goods for mass consumption. 

Almost one hundred million 
people live in what used to be 
Poland, Slovakia, Rumania, Hun¬ 
gary, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. 
About eighty-five of these hundred 
millions are engaged in agriculture. 
Yet they have not enough land, 
and much of the soil is poor. Almost 
half of the population should either 
migrate or find employment in in¬ 
dustry. 

The Balkan peasant is accus¬ 
tomed to long hours, a rigid work¬ 
ing discipline, and a standard of 


living not much higher than that 
of the Chinese coolie. He is also 
one of the most intelligent workers 
in the world. The Nazi plan — 
according to Goring’s paper, the 
Essener National Zeitung — is to 
use these peasants to turn out cheap 
textiles, shoes, glass, china, hard¬ 
ware and furniture for most of the 
three hundred and fifty million peo¬ 
ple in Continental Europe. There 
would be superplants, operating 
with the most modern German 
machines; but the laborers would 
live in company dormitories, work 
12 hours or more and actually be 
forbidden to leave their jobs. 

The Nazis have told Danish mak¬ 
ers of pottery and glass that when 
the war is over their business will 
be moved to Czechoslovakia, where 
the pottery and glassware for all of 
Europe will be manufactured. Dan¬ 
ish textile manufacturers have been 
told that they will be moved to 
Poland because all textiles will be 
manufactured in Eastern Europ>e. 
According to an official German re¬ 
port, a large part of the textile ma¬ 
chinery in northern France and 
southern Belgium has already been 
shipped to new plants in Slovakia 
and Hungary. This will mean the 
end of an industry which traces its 
ancestry back to the twelfth century. 

Before the war, Holland, Belgium , 
and France had a healthy balance 
between industry and agriculture. 
This the Nazis intend to change bj 
“liquidating” all the important in¬ 
dustries. While Balkan peasants go 



42 


THE READER S DIGEST 


The third Henry Wallace, now 
Vice-President of the United States, 
has been a scientist since he was 
eight years old, playing around the 
campus of the college where his 
father was a teacher. Studying 
botany there was a Negro named 
George Washington Carver, now a 
world-famous scientist. Carver no¬ 
ticed the boy’s interest in plants, 
and helped him. Before he was nine 
Henry was cross-breeding flowers, 
and in his middle teens he began 
those experiments in corn-breeding 
which revolutionized corn growing.* 

The soybean diet was an experi¬ 
ment he made as a student, trying 
to find the cheapest diet on which 
a man could live. It nearly gave 
him the blind staggers — for that 
was in the days before vitamins 
were known. Wallace was an early 
vitamin fan and has remained so. 

Henry carried on the family 
magazine, but he seemed of a dif¬ 
ferent stamp from his forebears. 
He was shy and studious, had no 
gift for mixing with people, and 
certainly did not seem cut out for 
politics. His wizardry in drawing 
up the first practicable “corn-hog 
charts” for mapping the course of 
the markets; his abstruse researches 
into the genetics of corn; his study 

* Patiently making thousands of crosses, Wal¬ 
lace developed heavier-yielding seed than had 
ever been known before. To get it into general 
use, he started the first company that sold 
hybrid seed-corn. At first a purely missionary 
effort, it has grown into the profitaUe Pioneer 
Hi-Bred Corn Co. Most farmers in the Corn Belt 
now use hybrid seed; in Iowa, it produces So 
percent of the crop. 


August 

of oriental religions — all these 
caused his neighbors to consider 
. him a student and a “strange one.” 

The storm which hit the farmers 
after the World War not only drew 
him into politics but caused him to 
abandon his family’s staunch Re¬ 
publicanism. His father had failed 
to convince President Harding and 
other Republican leaders of the 
need for government aid to the 
farmers. So in 1928 the son sup¬ 
ported A 1 Smith, who came closer 
than did Herbert Hoover to en¬ 
dorsing the principles Wallace 
favored. He met Franklin Roose¬ 
velt in 1932 and talked with the 
newly forming “Brain Trust.” 
When Roosevelt came out for prac¬ 
tically everything Wallace had 
been working for, Wallace became 
his man — and later his Secretary 
of Agriculture. 

Wallace has not always said 
“Yes” to the President; he has 
failed to go along on some of his 
policies, such as the “purge” of 
1938. But the manner in which he 
was forcibly fed to the Democratic 
National Convention last summer 
indicates that he is the President’s 
own choice as his successor. 

At Agriculture Wallace had 
nearly 100,000 employes and a 
budget of $1,000,000,000. Now he 
has a staff of four and a budget of 
$12,000. But six times in the past 
100 years a President has died in 
office. And if Henry Wallace, by 
chance or election, inherits, he will 
receive not only the presidency but 



PRESIDENTIAL HEIR-APPARENT 


43 


1941 

all those extraordinary emergency 
powers acquired by Mr. Roose- 
■ velt. This possibility gives him an 
importance out of all proportion to 
that of earlier Vice-Presidents. 

Henry Wallace is a singularly 
honest, decent, likable man, ex¬ 
tremely energetic, of high public 
spirit. His enemies agree to that. 
They preface their criticisms with 
some such remark as, “Now, under¬ 
stand, I admire and respect Henry, 
but . . 

This respect is based in part on 
the simplicity of his personality. 
He is diffident, modest, a|id shows 
embarrassment with a little nerv¬ 
ous laugh; he may sprawl deep in 
his chair, or stare at the floor like a 
farmer scuffing the soil with his 
foot. But in spite of this he has a 
personal dignity that you feel 
at once when you meet him. 

Though his hair is graying, he 
has a boyish look and the spring 
and fitness of a man who trains like 
an athlete. He is an enthusiastic 
tennis player, and can run the legs 
off younger colleagues. He walks 
the 4^ miles between his home 
and the Capitol every working day, 
and he thinks nothing of trudging 
to the railroad station carrying a 
couple of heavy suitcases. 

Not long ago a friend mentioned 
to Wallace a quaint theory he had 
heard, that w future could be 
predicted fron; markings on the 
■Pyramids. To his surprise he found 
that Wallace was quite familiar 
kith it. The Vice-President has a 


considerable library on Buddhism, 
Confucianism, and the mysterious 
beliefs of the Orient. Friends say 
this is just the hobby of a scientific 
man of religious turn. Opponents 
think it reflects on the practical 
judgment of the man who may be 
President. 

Whether he becomes President 
or not, one achievement of Wal¬ 
lace’s will give him a place in the 
history books. He started the first 
big counterattack against the ero¬ 
sion and wasteful practices which 
for generations have been washing 
our lands into the sea. Through 
scientific methods we are begin¬ 
ning to halt that creeping disaster. 

Wallace has always had a reli¬ 
gious feeling about the soil, and 
now it is extended to the whole field 
of public affairs. The dictatorships, 
he points out, have found a kind of 
“ vital heathen religion.” If we 
are to keep our freedom we must 
combine all that is best in democ¬ 
racy and capitalism with a new 
spirit of religion of our own. 

“Religion,” Wallace says, **is a 
method by which man reaches out 
toward God in an effort to express 
here on earth, in a practical way, 
the divine potentialities in himsdf 
and his fellow human beings.” 
Our task, he believes, is to build “a 
kingdom of Heaven here on this ^ 
earth.” This may fall somewhat 
strangely on the ear, coming from a 
TOlitical figure. But it is a pracdcal 
faith, in which men of any belief, 
or even an earnest atheist, can join. 



Nature’s pyrotechnics—what sets them oJF 
and how to keep out of their lethal path 


JVhen the Thunder-God Strikes-— 


Condensed from Scribner’s Commentator 


James Finan 


T he myth that lightning never 
strikes twice is bunk. It has 
struck the Empire State 
Building in New York 68 recorded 
times — 15 times in 15 minutes 
during one violent thunderstorm. 
It hit the municipal power station 
at Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks 
twice in two minutes. Last summer 
lightning electrocuted a New Jersey 
golfer on a fairway where 25 years 
before it h^d missed the same man. 
In Newman, Ga., a bolt tore a 
plank clean off the house of Ralph 
Potts, farmer; five years before, 
lightning had merely ripped the 
plank loose at one end. 

What is this awesome phenome¬ 
non that causes 15 percent of our 
national fire loss, kills 500 people 
each year, injures 1500 more and 
terrifies millions? 

Lightning is the electrical dis¬ 
charge from a rainstorm. Thunder 
is the noise it makes—the spat! 
spat! of a spark plug, on a grand 
scale, as a spark leaps the gap be¬ 
tween two terminals. Lightning is 
the spark. The terminals are the 
cloud and the ground. A bolt of 
lightning travels 22,000,000 miles 
an hour and packs more electrical 


energy than all the dynamos in 
the U. S. 

Thunderclouds generate elec¬ 
tricity much as power stations* do. 
In fact a thunderstorm is nothing 
more, nor less, than a wind-driven 
electrical machine. Warm air rises 
from the earth — at first gradually, 
then finally in a violent upward 
rush. As it reaches cooler hei^ghts, 
its moisture condenses into tiny 
droplets, visible as a huge mush¬ 
rooming cloud. When a thunder- 
head towers up in the sky, the wind 
is supporting perhaps 300,000 tons 
of these droplets. 

The drops by motion and friction 
take minute charges of electricity 
from the atmosphere itself, and 
gravity and wind action pack into 
the lower frontal “storm center” 
the heavier drops which are posi¬ 
tively chained. 

The earth itself is also full of 
electricity. Attracted by the gath¬ 
ering positive charge in the cloud 
overhead, a flow of negative elec¬ 
tricity courses like a shadow 
through the ground below. Tension 
mounts between these two “poles.” 
Voltage in the swirling aerial dy¬ 
namo builds high enough to jump 


Copyright P. & S. Pubtisbing^ Ine., 654 Madison /fw., iV. T* C. 
iSeribnePs Commentator^ August^ ’41) 


44 



WHEN THE THUNDER-GOD STRIKES- 


45 


the gap between cloud and earth; 
. a titanic bolt streaks to the ground 
and electrical current flows through 
this path until the pressure between 
lightning’s two contact points is 
equalized. 

Lightning is not one spark but 
many, not a single direct hit but a 
salvo of shots hitting one spot in 
quick succession. Three things have 
happened by the time you see that 
jagged streak pierce the darkened 
sky. First, a downward-moving, 
dart-like “leader” stroke develops 
millions of volts in .about one 
millionth of a second. It darts out 
from the storm center of the cloud 
in loo-foot steps, blazing the trail 
for the bolt to follow. Next, a surge 
of high-voltage electricity, lasting 
5 to aoo millionths of a second, 
courses back up the blazed trail 
to the cloud from the contact point 
on the ground below. Building, 
tree, animal — anything — stand¬ 
ing on the contact spot is forced to 
carry lightning’s lethal juice. Third, 
a sustained current between cloud 
and ground, lasting from a thou¬ 
sandth to fully a tenth of a second, 
burns, melts, ignites the object 
struck. 

How lightning jumps to earth 
had baffled scientists until recently, 
when two Americans took the job 
in hand. General Electric’s Karl 
B. McEachron devised a crystal- 
periscoped, lightproof observatory 
at Pittsfield, Mass., where he 
photographs lightning with a fast¬ 
whirling camera. Then last year 


Charles F. Wagner and G. D, Mc¬ 
Cann, Westinghouse engineers, 
patented a “ fulchronograph,” with 
which they create step by step a 
3,600,ooo-volt replica of a light¬ 
ning bolt. 

Until Mr. Wagner’s apparatus, 
man-made lightning never hit 
things in the precise sequence that 
natural lightning does. In hilly 
Pennsylvania, where lightning hits 
power lines 116 times each year for 
every 100 miles, engineers hurl 
their bolts at power lines to test 
new lightning-proof equipment be¬ 
ing used as saf^uards against cost¬ 
ly breakdowns. Equipment that 
stands this test is 99 percent sure 
to survive that of lightning. 

What makes thunder? Research 
shows lightning creates a “core” 
of highly charged air no thicker 
than a man’s arm. Through this 
channel rushes the enormous cur¬ 
rent. The abrupt expansion of 
highly heated air causes the rend¬ 
ing, ripping crash of thunder. 

You can tell how close lightning 
hits by counting the seconds be¬ 
tween flash and thunderclap. Sound 
travels about a mile in five seconds. 
If thunder follows ao seconds after 
a lightning stroke, for example, the 
lightning struck four miles away. 
“If you heard the thunder,” Dr. 
McEachron assures you, “the^ 
lightning did not strike you. If you 
saw the lightning, it missed you. 
And if it did strife you, you don’t 
know it now.” 

Lightning doesn’t choose the 



THE READER'S DIGEST 


shortest path between cloud and 
ground; it chooses the easiest path, 
the line of least electrical resistance. 
Steel buildings, tall trees, power 
lines, telephone poles, all are good 
conductors of lightning. But if light¬ 
ning hits a properly grounded struc¬ 
ture the current runs harmlessly 
through it to dispersal in the earth. 
Hence farmers are learning to pro¬ 
tect life and livestock by grounding 
wire fences and isolated trees used 
for shelter. 

A two-year survey in Iowa, 
where 50 percent of farm buildings 
are lightning-rod protected, showed 
only 28 rodded buildings damaged 
by lightning, to 503 unprotected 
buildings. The Bureau of Standards 
places the well-rodded building’s 
chances of safety at better than 50 
to I. 

At Mon tours ville. Pa., 25 cows 
were killed when lightning struck 
an oak tree and then side-flashed 
into their wet bodies on its way to 
the ground. A herd at Rutland, Vt., 
was similarly wiped out. During 
army maneuvers last summer in 
New York, rain-drenched soldiers 
clustered with their machine gun 
under a 6o-foot pine tree. When 
lightning struck the tree it side- 
flashed to the metal gun — and to 
the soldiers, killing three and knock¬ 
ing out 20 more. Often a tree is 
blown apart, the bolt vaporizing 
sap and moisture into an explosive 
force with the bursting pressure of 
dynamite. Even when the current 
reaches the roots, objects nearby 


August 

are not safe. If the soil is resistant 
the current may pass up one leg of 
the victim and down the other, 
electrocuting him as if he were in a 
prison death chair. A heavy copper 
cable strung from the uppermost 
branches and buried deep in the 
earth would prevent such disasters. 

Any tree or building with proper 
conductors shields everything within 
a “ cone of protection ” that extends 
the same distance from its base as 
tTiS object is high. In New York the 
Empire State Building shelters an 
area 1200 feet from its base. Dr. 
McEachron’s photographs show 
that lightning strikes either the mast 
of that building or else some struc¬ 
ture beyond the rim of protection. 
Its steel skeleton conducts the big¬ 
gest bolts harmlessly to the ground. 

Lightning often strikes chimneys, 
so stay away from open fireplaces 
during a storm. Contrary to popu¬ 
lar opinion, open windows, house¬ 
hold drafts or still air have no effect 
one way or the other on lightning. 
As Dr. McEachron says, “A light¬ 
ning discharge would be blown into 
a house through the walls just as 
quickly with windows and doors 
closed as with them open.” Large 
metal objects in a room, however, 
invite lightning to leap from a con¬ 
ducted path to a new circuit — 
which may include you. Don’t get 
into the bathtub, either. You will 
be safe in a large metal or metal 
frame building, or in a city street 
flanked by skyscrapers. 

Do nox go outdoors or remain out 



WHEN THE THUNDER-GOD STRIKES — 


47 


T941 


during thunderstorms unless it is 
.necessary. Avoid hilltops or open 
spaces, where you are the tallest 
object and your feet are grounded. 
There you are the lightning rod. 
Swinging a metal-shaft golf club 
overhead has been the last mortal 
act of many a wet-weather golfer. 
In Delta, Colo., last August, a 16- 
year-old fisherman was struck dead 
while carrying a steel fishing rod; 
two companions with bamboo poles 
were stunned but unhurt. Avoid 
small sheds or shelters, isolated 
trees, wire fences. Seejf; shelter in 
dense woods, a cave, a deep valley 


or at the foot of a steep or over¬ 
hanging cliff. If you are caught out 
in the open, lie down. 

Lightning actually is beneficial 
to mankind. In its quick passage 
the bolt of electricity splits free 
nitrogen out of the air, just as high- 
voltage electricity does in the com¬ 
mercial nitrogen-fixation process. 
This gift to plant life comes down 
with the raindrops. Dr. B. F. J. 
Schonland of South Africa calcu¬ 
lates that 100,000,000 tons of fixed 
nitrogen are spread over the earth 
each year by lightning. A silver 
lining to dark clouds, indeed. 


3 ^ TJiat^s Hottf It Started! — XXII — 

< A FAMOUS BET Started a chain of re¬ 
search which led to the perfecting of motion pictures. Some 60 years 
ago, Governor Leland Stanford of California bet $25,000 that a horse 
at full speed took all four feet otf the ground at once. To prove his 
theory, he employed Edward Muybridge, a photographer, to record 
on film a series of pictures of The Engineer, one of Stanford’s thor¬ 
oughbreds, galloping. It took Muybridge six months to coordinate 
horse and cameras, and prove Stanford’s theory. He put the series of 
pictures in a stack, and later thumbing through them, to his amaze¬ 
ment saw The Engineer running as the pictures flipped. 

Muybridge’s discovery started the manufacture of animated books 
of pictures for children. It also started experimentation by Thomas 
Edison and others on the best method of recording motion on film. 

— Eileen Percy in Piltcbui^gh Post-Gageite and F. C. Orhman, UP tIoUywood Correspundent 


^ When Captain Cook discovered Aus- * 
tralia, his sailors brought a strange aninial aboard ship whose name 
they did not know. Sent ashore to inquire of the natives, they came 
back and said, ‘Tt is a kangaroo.” Many years passed before it was 
known that when the natives were asked to name the animal and 
said, “Kangaroo,” they meant, “What did you say?” 

— H. AHen Smith, Lout Man on a Totem Pole (Doubleday, Donut) 



• • • 


PICTURESQUE Speech and' patter 


She can best be described as having 
a beautiful profile all the way down. 

(Bill Davidson) 

A BRAND-NEW DAY, fresh out of the 
night’s dark wrapping-paper. 

The LADIES looked one another 
over with microscopic carelessness. 

(Arthur “Bugs” Baer) 

The alert faces of women shop¬ 
pers, turning this way and that like 
foraging poultry. (Christopher Morlcy) 

Weeping willows swayed their 
long green skirts like hula dancers 
(Arch Bristow) . . . Moming liung out 
her mists to dry (Billic Burnett) . . . 
Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon 
sunshine (Alexander Smith) ... A large 
red drop of sun lingered on the hori¬ 
zon and then dripped over and was 
gone. (John Steinbeck) 

A SINGLE rifle shot laid a whip of 
sound across the broad back of the hill. 

(Neil H. Swanson) 

The locomotive, working rapidly 
with its elbows. (Vladimir Nabokov) 

The baby cried, his face looking 
like a little sponge being wrung dry. 

(Grace Woodrow) 

Her face always looked like a win¬ 
dow that had caught the sunset. 

(Edith Wharton) 

In our generation the dominant 
religion seems to be Confusionism. 

(Samuel Hawkins) 


FIe usually hits the nail squarely 
on the thumb. (Jack Alan) 

He’s quite a pessimist — always 
building dungeons in the air. 

(Walter Winchcll) 

A CHARMING young widow, just re¬ 
turned thirty . . . She’s spurning 
him on (Giii>crt a. Adoifson) . . . Her 
mouth goes without saying. (Jon Kinney) 

What is a croquette but hash that 
has come to a head? (Irvin S. Cobb) 

Her waist, like the Equator, is an 
imaginary line. (Ruth Sawyer) 

He asked her where she didn’t get 
the bathing suit. (Shirley Snow) 

The picturesque speech of childhood: 
“When I threw a pebble in the lake, it 
smiled at me’’ (quoted by Louis Nizer) . . . 
“I want one of those olives with a little 
red tail-light” . . . “The rain is 
winking in the puddles” . . . Child 
with hiccups: “Mother, I’m percolat¬ 
ing!” 

Often it’s easier to do a good job 
than to explain why you didn’t . . . 
Some people are good losers and others 
can’t act . . . The secret of polite 
conversation is never to open your 
mouth unless you have nothing to say. 

“My greatest ambition,” said a 
prominent actor, “is to be able to live 
the way I do.” (Paul Harrison) 


TO TiiB FIRST CONTRIBUTOR OF EACH ACCEPTED ITEM of either Psttcf Of Picturcsquc Speech a 
payment of $5 is made upon publication. In all cases the source must be given. An aadttional pay¬ 
ment is made to the author, except for items originated by the sender. Contributions cannot oe 
acknowledge or returned, but every item is carefully considered. 

ADDRESS FATTER EDITOR, BOX 605, FX.BAAnTV1L1.E, N. Y. 



“Uncle Jake” showed these Michigan boys and girls 
how to tackle small services in a big way 

• These Youngsters Make J^acations Pay 

Condensed from The Christian Science Monitor 

Karl Detzer 

SALESMAN knoclccd at the from 12 to 14, were turning out the 
I door of a house in the little products of this successful concern. 

JL paper-making city of Parch- They were learning how to handle 
ment, near Kalamazoo, Mich., one tools, read blueprints, figure costs, 
summer day, took off his hat po- and manage a business, 
litely and said; “Good morning, More important, instead of idly 
Mrs. Smith. I just no.^'iced that roaming the streets, they were 
you’re short two window screens, spending their vacation profitably, 
The Junior Furniture Company will discovering the value of a dollar in 
make them, put on two coats of terms of hard work, the value of 
paint, and install them at two dol- time in money, the value of co- 
lars each. Yes, ma’am — we guaran- operation. 

tee a good fit. Junior Furniture In these same vacation weeks 25 
stands behind its products.” of their eider brothers, organized 

Mrs. Smith ordered the screens, into the “Home Works Corpora- 
The salesman then sold her a tion,” were earning money at harder 
clothesline prop and a porch chair, jobs. Last summer they washed 222 
At the next house he was not so cars, mowed 328 lawns, repaired 
lucky, but within an hour he had fences, hauled wood, cut weeds and 
also sold a birdhouse and an iron- spaded gardens. The i6-year-old 
ing board. When he returned to his president acted as job solicitor, 
office at noon he had 11 orders in The general manager was purchas- 
his book. ing agent, timekeeper and paymas- 

He and a fellow salesman worked ter. These two formed the office 
four hours that day; each made 77 staff; the others went out each 
cents. Both were 14 years old. They morning with brooms, rakes, spades, 
Were learning more, making more lawn mower and cleaning rags, 
money, and having more fun on worked five hours a day, returned j 
their summer vacation than do to headquarters each afternoon to 
most boys. Back in the shop of the draw their assignments for the next 
Parchment Junior Furniture Com- morning. 

pany 20 other boys, ranging in age Meanwhile 20 girls of Parchment, 

Copyright ig4it 'The Christian Science Puh. Soeietyt i Norway St.^ Boston^ Massm 
{Weekly Magazine Section^ July '4/) 


49 



50 


THE READER'S DIGEST 


August 




from 14 to 18, were busy running 
the “Junior Baking Company.” 
They made and sold thousands of 
pies, cakes, rolls, cookies, prepared 
one meal a week for a luncheon 
club, gave ice cream socials. 

Parchment is a neat, well-painted 
town of 1000 built around the plant 
of the Kalamazoo Vegetable Parch¬ 
ment Company. Six years ago Jacob 
Kindlebei^er, the company's founder 
and board chairman, heard that 
gangs of youngsters were hanging 
around street corners, occasionally 
getting into mischief. “Uncle Jake,” 
as Kindleberger is known to the 
town, called in a dozen of the 
youngsters, asked, “How'd you like 
to earn some money?” The boys 
said they'd like to. “All right. Come 
back tomorrow,” he told them, and 
sent for the principal of the school, 
logether they worked out a scheme, 
at first planning only for the older 
boys. Kindleberger appointed the 
principal supervisor, paid him two 
months’ summer salary, told him 
to see that the boys kept busy at 
tasks which not only earned them 
a little money but taught them 
something worth while. 

“Let them have their own organ¬ 
ization, their own responsibility 
and their own discipline,” he di¬ 
rected. “ Don’t preach to them and 
don't pamper them. We’re not go¬ 
ing to give them a thing; they’ll 
have to work for every penny they 
make.” 

The Home Works Corporation 
has been functioning for six years 


now. The boys elect their own offi¬ 
cers, keep their own time cards, 
balance their own books, divide 
earnings according to the number 
of hours each has worked. No one 
is permitted to solicit or accept any 
particular chore for himself; if he 
gets an order he turns it in at the 
office, and the timekeeper assigns 
the right boy to it. 

If a customer complains that a 
job is poorly done, a committee in¬ 
spects it, hears the accused boy's 
defense. If the committee finds the 
boy guilty it either makes him do 
the job over, or refuses to pay him 
and returns the money to the 
householder. If it decides the work 
is well done it returns the money 
anyway (for the customer is always 
right), and thereafter the corpora¬ 
tion is too busy to send boys to that 
address. 

Members averaged JS43.35 apiece 
for last summer’s work. The high 
boy, who worked five hours a day, 
five days a week, for the full eight 
weeks, made I74.25. 

The Home Works Corporation 
had been going two years when 
younger brothers approached Kin¬ 
dleberger and asked for work. The 
Junior Furniture Company has op¬ 
erated vigorously ever since. Its 
members spend four hours a day 
either selling things or building 
them. The public school manual 
training shop is their factory, with 
the regular instructor in charge. 
Their material is scrap lumber 
boughCat the salvage department 



igp THESE YOUNGSTERS MAKE VACATIONS PAY 57 


of the paper company at current 
.local prices. They construct bird- 
houses, screens, trellises, clothes 
props, benches, ladders, lawn chairs, 
shoeboxes, doghouses. Net earn¬ 
ings last summer totaled $435.67, of 
which the low boy, who worked 
only part time, made $10.66; the 
high boy pocketed $54.98. 

When the juniors’ 13-ycar-old 
treasurer was asked what had been 
the hourly rate of pay last season, 
he studied his ledger a moment, 
then gravely gave the figure of 
19.786 cents. As the result of his 
summer’s adventure he plans to 
become an auditor; other boys look 
forward to becoming salesmen or 
mechanical engineers. 

No sooner had the younger boys 
gone to work than their sisters 
trooped into the paper company 
office. Kindleberger turned them 
over to the ladies’ aid of the Com¬ 
munity Church and the Junior Bak¬ 
ing Company was born, with a 
woman church welfare worker as 
supervisor. Last summer they pre¬ 
pared an average of 80 luncheon 
plates a week, bought the ingredi¬ 
ents, cooked and served them, 
washed the dishes. They baked and 
sold 3000 cookies, coffee cakes, pies, 
rolls. At two ice cream socials they 


took in nearly $100. They averaged 
$21 each in profit, learned how to 
cook, how to set an attractive ta¬ 
ble, how to keep a tidy kitchen, 
how to use inexpensive cuts of 
meat and odds and ends from the 
icebox. All discovered that money 
doesn’t just happen, but has to be 
worked for. 

Practically every boy and girl in 
Parchment from 12 to 18 belongs to 
one of these three organizations. Al¬ 
ready several score of the graduates 
are working in the KVP mill, and 
Kindleberger takes pride in their 
dependability and ingenuity. Boys 
who proved good salesmen of bird¬ 
houses and clothesline props are 
also good paper salesmen; those 
who did the best jobs in the shop 
are becoming skilled technicians. 

Any organization — service club, 
scout troop, church or industry - - 
in any town can start a system like 
ours,” Jacob Kindleberger says. 
“Two things they must remember. 
Organize a company, and pay the 
money to the company, not the in¬ 
dividual. That teaches- the young¬ 
ster the rudiments of business. And 
employ a competent adult adviser, 
someone skillful enough to guide, 
while letting the boys run the show 
themselves. Then you can’t fail.” 


* For Whom the Belle Peels 

The girl who, irt^ndescent, glows 
Where sun and wind have kissed her 
Is less alluring to her beaux 
When she begins to blister. 


— C»w 



€L The Moscow school which trains American 
Communists for revolution in the U. S. 


0 


Academy of High Treason 


Condensed from The American Mercury 


Jan Valtin 

Author of “Out of the Night” 


bis article Are Already In^- 
vaded” in The Reader’s Digest for July^ 
Stanley High reported in detail how 
Communists have penetrated to positions 
of authority in American industrial un¬ 
ions andy by promoting strikesy have seri¬ 
ously hampered our defense effort. Some 
of these leaders are known to have been 
trained at Moscow's l^in University. 
What that “university" is and what it 
teaches are revealed in the following 
article by one who knows from the inside 
the Communist plot for seizure of world 
power. 

I N THE HEART of Moscow Stands 
a group of massive buildings 
known as the International 
Lenin University. Here American 
and European Communists are 
trained in the destructive arts of 
subversive propaganda, strikes, es¬ 
pionage, sabotage and civil war. 
Similar schools develop Soviet 
agents for the rest of the world. 
Secrecy shrouds all activities with¬ 
in their thick Russian walls. Like 
the Kremlin itself, the schools are 
forbidden ground to outsiders. 

During the past decade a yearly 
average of 30 American Commu¬ 
nists have graduated from this 
West Point of Stalin’s world revo¬ 
lution. With few exceptions they 


have been sent back to the United 
States to act as leaders of fifth col¬ 
umn campaigns carried on under 
the pretense of helping the Amer¬ 
ican worker. They form the Com¬ 
munist high command in the cease¬ 
less war to disrupt the political and 
economic life of America. Strikes 
and sabotage are their chief weap¬ 
ons. 

Among these graduates are Clar¬ 
ence Hathaway, a machinist from 
Minneapolis, who became the party 
chief for New York and editor of 
the Daily Worker; Charles Krum- 
bein, convicted of passport fraud 
upon his return to the United 
States and sentenced to 18 months’ 
imprisonment, who is now chief of 
the Communist party for New 
York State; Joseph Zack, a trade 
union specialist for I^tin and North 
America; Maurice Childs, a GPU 
aide who later became Communist 
leader for the Chicago district; Ben¬ 
jamin Gold, whose Muscovite train¬ 
ing netted him the post of president 
of the International Fur Workers’ 
Union, a CIO affiliate; and Sam 
tf>on, possessor of the Soviet title 
“Red Professor,” present editor of 
the Dafly Worker. 


Copyright ip4ii The American Mercurjy Ine.y spo Lexington Ave.y N. T, C. 
^2 [The American Mercuryy Julyy '41) 



ACADEMY OF HIGH TREASON 


Since their graduation a few of 
the comrades have run afoul of the 
party line. Hathaway was expelled 
and is silent, Zack has turned 
against it, others are in hiding or 
have disappeared without a trace. 
But most of the Lenin alumni are 
still active. 

Americans as yet do not fully 
understand that a real fifth col¬ 
umnist is no shabby little stool 
pigeon or loud-mouthed partisan. 
He is a highly trained officer of a 
secret invasion army under the 
command of a foreign- dictator. 
Hitler's Atislands Institut in Berlin 
is merely a Nazi imitation of 
Stalin’s Lenin University. Both 
teach subversive technique, from 
the use of codes and the faking of 
passports to the terrorizing of na¬ 
tions. The minute care exercised by 
Soviet chieftains in the selection of 
students for the Lenin school is 
proof of the high importance which 
the Kremlin attaches to their later 
usefulness. 

Fanatic devotion to the cause 
and at least two years of active 
party membership are prerequisites 
for admission. Comrades who have 
had industrial or military experi¬ 
ence are preferred. Arrests and im¬ 
prisonment for party activity count 
heavily in the candidate's favor. 

The number of students to be 
supplied by the Ccfmmunist party 
in each country is determined in 
Moscow. The candidates are se¬ 
lected by the party's central com¬ 
mittee, acting upon the advice of 


53 

the local Comintern agent, but the 
chosen ones must then be approved 
by the GPU. 

To cover up their tracks, stu¬ 
dents do not take the shortest 
route to Russia but are led over a 
series of GPU relay stations in vari¬ 
ous countries. Since the outbreak 
of the present war, the road to 
Moscow leads to San PVancisco or 
Manzanillo, Mexico, thence across 
the Pacific aboard Soviet vessels. 

Every precaution is taken against 
the penetration of foreign spies into 
the Soviet academies of high trea¬ 
son. Each student, upon arrival in 
Moscow,-is given a final and thor¬ 
ough examination by high GPU 
officials. Each week GPU agents 
inspect the students’ rooms in their 
absence, for forbidden letters or 
literature. Mail to relatives and 
friends is rigidly censored. Govern¬ 
ment spies are ever present in stu¬ 
dent gatherings. Among these spies, 
according to the sworn testimony 
of an American Negro who studied 
there, were the Americans Maurice 
Childs and Beatrice Siskin of De¬ 
troit, and Mrs. Earl Browder. 

Students remain in training for 
two to four years. Since the final 
goal of all Communist effort is the 
overthrow of government and sei¬ 
zure of power by the Communist 
party, all training aims at creating 
a world-wide staff of engineers of 
armed insurrection. The factors 
which make up strikes, mutinies 
and revolutions are dissected and 
weighed with the earnestness medi- 



THE reader’s digest* 


54 

cal students apply to their study of 
the human organism. Experiences 
gained in the Communist-led ship¬ 
ping strike in Germany in 1931 
were applied with success in the 
San Francisco general strike which 
brought Harry Bridges to the fore; 
lessons learned during the Paris 
Citroen strikes are being utilized in 
American defense strikes. 

From Alfred Langer’s Road to 
Victory, an important textbook in 
Lenin University, students learn 
why Communist parties exist: 

Everything undertaken by the 
Communist party acquires meaning 
and value only in so far as it 
serves as a preparation for armed 
insurrection. All party campaigns 
must be regarded as mobilization of 
the masses for the armed insur¬ 
rection. 

From the Communist viewpoint 
the object of any strike is not to 
secure better living conditions for 
the strikers but solely to disrupt 
the production process and lead the 
strikers into clashes with the au¬ 
thorities. Here, in a nutshell, is the 
explanation given in A. D. Losov- 
sky’s official textbook, Strike As 
War: 

The prelude to armed insurrection 
is the general strike. Prelude to the 
general strike are waves of partial 
strikes. Strikes — that is, physical 
conflict with the forces of capitalism 
— are the best revolutionary school¬ 
ing for the masses. Therefore the 
organization of strikes is the para¬ 
mount task confronting Commu- 


August 

nist parties and their auxiliary 
organizations in every capitalist 
country. 

Students are taught how' to 
search out the key spots; 

Concentrate on disrupting by 
strikes the most sensitive portions 
of the capitalist economic system. 
Concentrate on decisive industries: 
steel, shipping, railroads, mining, 
chemical industries and public 
utilities. 

Steel includes automobile and 
airplane industries, as well as ship¬ 
yards. Shipping has long been the 
object of strenuous (and highly 
successful) Communist campaigns; 
Communist control of seamen’s 
unions would put any country's for¬ 
eign trade at the mercy of the Soviet 
government. 

The same textbook defines the 
relationship of the Communist 
party to trade unions and other 
“front” organizations: 

Trade unions and all other auxil¬ 
iary organizations must be regarded 
as transmission belts between the 
Party and the masses. Mass strikes 
under Communist leadership re¬ 
quire Communist penetration of 
established trade unions. 

The Communist idea of ethical 
public relations, which Hitler stole 
from Stalin, is summed up in two 
sentences: 

A tactical retreat is sometimes 
necessary. When a revolutionary 
organization enters into an agree¬ 
ment with employers or the gov¬ 
ernment, it is only for the purpose 



ACADEMY OF HIGH TREASON 


55 


1941 

of rendering the enemy ofF-guard, 
and of gaining a breathing spell to 
gather forces for a new revolurion- 
ary assault. 

Other lessons in Strike As War 
stress the command to “organize 
the worker against the employer, 
the little businessman against Big 
Business, farmers against banks, 
tenants against landlords, soldiers 
against their officers, etc.” 

Military training is emphasized, 
so that students may become lead¬ 
ers of armed demonstrations, riots 
and street fighting in.. their own 
cou/itries. They are regarded as 
future officers of civil war armies 
and political police machines. 

Large, fenced-in front and back 
yards of the Lenin school are used 
as secret drill grounds. In a special 
section students learn to handle 16 
varieties of machine guns. They 
are taught to assemble and take 
them apart rapidly, to aim and 
fire from barricades, doorways, 
windows, roofs. They are trained in 
the use of rifles, pistols and hand 
grenades; they learn the rudiments 
of handmade bombs. The tech¬ 
nique of derailing trains, of tearing 
up tracks and wrecking bridges is 
also part of the curriculum. 

Langer’s textbook tells the stu¬ 
dents: “Communists must enter 
the armed forces of their home 
government with-the aim of bring- 
i'lg about complete disintegration 
of discipline and morale.” 

Their program of preparing capi¬ 
talist nations for defeat by planting 


the seeds of internal strife in the 
camp of labor and in the armed 
forces is officially known as “revo¬ 
lutionary defeatism.” 

In the highly technical pamphlet 
series entitled 0 » Civi/ War^ the 
students find precise instructions 
on how to lure police and troops 
into deadly traps, seize the strate¬ 
gic centers of any large city, build 
barricades, and use unarmed masses 
of men and women as shields for 
armed Communist units. Here is 
one sample. Seizure of a Railway 
Station: 

Choose a time when railway 
traffic is at its minimum. Simulta¬ 
neously occupy entrances, switch 
centers and telephones. Disarm 
station guards. Occupy tracks for 
one mile on both sides of station. 
Organize track patrols. Occupy 
nearest train stops on both sides of 
main station. Barricade tracks and 
post snipers to prevent removal of 
barricades. Wreck approaching en¬ 
emy troop trains by using station 
locomotives for head-on collisions. 

After mastering theory, students 

are taken to railroad vards and 

¥ 

GPU training grounds on the out¬ 
skirts of Moscow for drill in the 
practical aspects of revolutionary 
strategy. They also participate in 
the annual maneuvers of the Mos¬ 
cow garrison. 

Almost all key positions in the 
Communist machine in America 
are held by comrades who have 
received their training in Moscow. 
Communists sent here on subver- 



THE reader’s digest 





August 


fuge, a device which rotates at 
tremendously high speed. By cen¬ 
trifugal force the heavy virus mole¬ 
cules in the liquid were thrust 
outwards and Dr. Stanley sepa¬ 
rated them olF. This technique has 
been of enormous advantage to 
science. It is now possible to “man¬ 
ufacture” virus in quite large quan¬ 
tities, and scientists everywhere 
are conducting all sorts of experi¬ 
ments with it. 

The really shattering result of 
recent work on viruses is to break 
down the distinction between or¬ 
ganic and inorganic matter, be¬ 
tween molecules and organisms, 
between the living and the dead. 
Until this was done, science thought 
that there were two worlds of mat¬ 
ter and that the boundary between 
them could not be crossed. But the 
viruses cross that boundary, or 
more accurately they have settled 
down as squatters upon it. In some 
of their characteristics they seem 
like pure chemicals; in others, like 
pure organisms. That is why scien¬ 
tists today insist that the old dis¬ 
tinction is artificial and meaning¬ 
less. 

Dr. Stanley not ohl^ succeeded 
in isolating the pure virus, but in 
producing it in crystalline form. 
To the layman this suggests that 
viruses must be “dead,” since it is 
hard to imagine a living organism 
appearing in the form of inert, 
motionless crystals. But the crys¬ 
tals of the tobacco mosaic virus, 
for instance, can on occasion “come 


to life” to the most astonishing 
extent. Living matter is supposedly 
made up of cells with walls, and 
there is no evidence that viruses 
possess such a quality; but definite 
cell walls are also lacking among 
certain slime molds ordinarily classed 
among living things. Again, we 
have no evidence that viruses 
breathe; but this is equally true of 
otherdiving substances. 

One quality of the virus which 
makes it seem alive is its power to 
reproduce itself. Brought into con¬ 
tact with certain living cells, the 
virus molecules leap into action 
and duplicate themselves until 
from a single one you may have 
billions. No such action takes place 
in the test tube when the virus is 
isolated alone, nor when the virus 
is in contact with a nonsusceptible 
host or with dead cells. 

How is this miracle of reproduc¬ 
tion accomplished? Scientists be¬ 
lieve that the virus molecule con¬ 
sists of a combination of various 
chemical elements in extremely 
minute quantities. The virus is 
somehow able to commandeer from 
the living cell with which it comes 
in contact exactly the same amounts 
of exactly the same chemicals, and 
to arrange these in an order dupli¬ 
cating that of the original molecule, 
flach of these two molecules then 
calls into being another in the same 
way; the four become eight, and so 
on. The force by which the virus 
reproduces itself must be electric, 
since electricity is the underlying 



■rp^/ BETWEEN UFE AND DEATH: THE AMAZING VIRUSES S 9 

Iprinciple of the atom; but just how 
the operation is performed we do 


not know. 

The virus has another highly 
important characteristic of living 
organisms: it mutates. As the virus 
particles multiply, a small propor¬ 
tion of them change their character 
and pass the change along to their 
descendants. In this way a deadly 
disease can arise from a harmless 
one, or vice versa. The grave char¬ 
acter of the influenza epidemic of 
1918 was probably due to a muta¬ 
tion in the influenza virus which 
started somewhere and spread 
throughout the world. For the same 
reason measles is more serious at 
one time than at another. If we 
jknew enough about the measles 
f virus we could watch the rise and 
fall of malignancy, and when the 
disease was of a particularly mild 
variety we could expose as many 
children as possible and let them get 
permanent immunity with a mini¬ 
mum of discomfort and danger. 

One of the most astonishing chap¬ 
ters in the story of the virus as it is 
now being unrolled is its resem¬ 
blance to the gene. All human life 
md the life of all other animals and 
^plants as we usually recognize it 
|ii8ists of cells; these cells contain, 
I th^ir nucleus, the chromosomes, 
I unvarying numbers in each 
^ies, and the chromosomes con- 
p genes which determine the 
Hsical characteristics and the 
ne life pattern of the organism, 
f r as science now knows', a gene. 


like a virus, is a single protein mole¬ 
cule of highly complex structure. 
It is hard to believe that any two 
objects in nature can be so closely 
identical without having a definite 
and vital relationship to each 
other. It has been suggested that a 
virus may indeed be a gene that 
has somehow broken loose from its 
surroundings and controlling struc¬ 
ture. 

Already important developments 
are coming from the laboratories in 
relation to virus diseases. A suc¬ 
cessful vaccine has been prepared 
for a variety of sleeping sickness 
which until a short time ago af¬ 
fected only horses but now attacks 
human beings. Yellow fever is now 
being fought effectively: the virus 
is weakened by being passed through 
the brain of a mouse and is there¬ 
after kept alive for vaccine pur¬ 
poses through inoculation of an un¬ 
born chick in its shell. This vaccine 
is also combatting a new form of 
the disease not necessarily carried 
by mosquitoes like the earlier type. 
Very encouraging results have been 
found in vaccines for influenza.* 

There is a 'striking similarity 
between the way virus molecules 
reproduce themselves and the pro¬ 
liferation of cells in cancer. More¬ 
over, very recent researches indi¬ 
cate that at least one type of cancer 
in mice hitherto thought to be 
hereditary may result froth a virus 
and be transmitted from a mam- 

•See “Fate Join* the Fhi Fighteis,” The 
Reader’s Digest, March, ’41. 



6o 


THE reader's digest 


malian mother to her offspring in 
her milk. 

A remarkable recent develop¬ 
ment here made public for the first 
time is the discovery that the same 
virus can live and increase in both 
a plant and an animal. Work done 
in Japan on the virus of the ‘*rice 
stunt” disease and in the United 
States on the ”aster yellow” virus 
shows that viruses heretofore known 
to multiply only in plants can do 
the same thing in insects — which 
is to say, in animals. This impor¬ 
tant discovery re-emphasizes the 
value of studying plant viruses, 
now readily handled in the labora¬ 
tory, in seeking to prevent or cure 
virus diseases in animals and men. 

Thus the ancient philosophical 
concept — that the entire universe 
and everything in it is one orderly. 


logical and closely related whole — 
re-emerges and now for "the first 
time has definite scientific proof. 
As Dr. Stanley said in a recent ad¬ 
dress: “It is difficult, if not impos¬ 
sible, to place a sharp line separating 
living from nonliving things. The 
work on viruses has provided us 
with new reasons for considering 
that life as we know it does not 
come into existence suddenly but 
is inherent in all matter.” That is 
to say, there is,a condition which 
might be called “pre-life”; and this 
shades over, by what seem to be 
imperceptible degrees, into life. If 
Dr. Stanley’s statement is correct, 
the year 1935, the beginning of true 
virus research, may become one of 
the little handful of dates which 
mark turning points in the history 
of human thought. 


Do Figures Lie? 

Ci An old-fashioned Hebrew employer remonstrated when one of 
his employes asked for a raise on the ground that he worked too hard. 
“Why,” protested the employer, “you have an easy time of it. You do 
not work at all. Look! There are 365 days in a year. Eight hours each 
day you sleep. That makes 122 days, leaving 2.43 days. Eight hours of 
every day you have all for yourself. That leaves 121 days. I give you an 
hour for lunch every day and that amounts to 15 days more, leaving 106. 
You do not work on Sundays — 52 more days off, leaving 54. You get 
Saturday afternoons off—another 26 days, leaving 28 days. You have 
two weeks for vacation every summer and you take off about a week 
for sickness. Only seven days a year to work — and New Year’s, Wash¬ 
ington’s Birthday, Decoration Day, July Fourth, Labor Day, Thanks¬ 
giving Day and Christmas are holidays. Besides you take Yom Kippur 
off. I should give you a raise? You owe me money!” 

— Abbott and Costello, Comedians 



€L An army sergeant, he ended buccaneering by the army- 

Can he maintain a stable Cuba? 



Batista: 

The Stenographer W^ho 
Became Dictator 

By John Gunther 


^ 11 • ^ HE FIRST THING yOU nOticC 

I about Colonel Fulgencio Ba- 
JL tista y Zaldivar, 40-year-old 
President of Cuba, is his broad 
puckish smile. He sits like a pan¬ 
ther behind his desk and smiles, 
chuckles, chortles. This man, like 
Vargas of Brazil, is a dictator with 
a sense of humor. 

Batista is of medium height, 
strongly built, well-groomed, with 
glossy black hair and an Oriental 
cast of features. His desk is a litter 
of telegrams, newspapers, a porta¬ 
ble radio, and a cluster of telephones. 
As he talks he jabs a carefully man¬ 
icured finger at his interpreter, 
grins, and makes you feel thor¬ 
oughly at home. 

There was an excellent reason 


John Gunther, author of Inside Europe 
and Inside Asia^ has recently returned from 
an extensive tour of the Latin-American 
countries, where he talked with many lead¬ 
ing personalities. The results of his trip, 
including the present article, will be incor¬ 
porated in a new book, Inside Ltftin Amer- 
ieoy to be published in October by Harper 
& Brothers. 


for Batistans Hashing good humor 
when I interviewed him recently. 
He had just liquidated — blood- 
lessly — an attempt by army colo¬ 
nels to unseat him. On February i 
Batista had summarily discharged 
Colonel Bernardo Garcia, Havana’s 
powerful chief of police, charging 
negligence. Garcia belonged to a 
clique headed by Colonel Jose 
Pedraza, commander in chief of the 
army, and Colonel Angel Gonzales, 
navy chief of staff. They showed 
signsof wanting to get rid of Batista 
and used the affair of Police Chief 
Garcia as pretext. 

First Pedraza announced, in 
clear defiance of the President, that 
the police belonged to him and that 
he would continue to keep Garcia 
on the payroll as his private secre¬ 
tary. Then he telephoned Batista 
and, in insulting language, threat¬ 
ened action that would bring mili¬ 
tary dictatorship or civil war. 

Batista waited for two days, 
while the army under Pedraza 
maneuvered its guns into position. 
Bloodshed seemed inevitable. But 


6/ 



















62 THE READER S DIGEST August 


on midnight of February 3, the 
President, unarmed and accompa¬ 
nied only by two loyal officers, drove 
to Camp Columbia and confronted 
the military at their own head¬ 
quarters. He talked all night to the 
dissidents. By 4 a.m. he had won 
them over. At 9 a.m. he put Pe- 
draza, Gonzales, and Garcia under 
arrest. Then he announced that ir¬ 
responsible military interference in 
civil affairs must never occur again 
—that the country had grown up. 

The next dav Pedraza and his 
¥ 

friends were released, without pun¬ 
ishment, and exiled to Miami. 

The origins of Cubans strong man 
are obscure. He was born in 1901 
in Banes, a small banana village in 
Oriente province. His family was 
desperately poor, he was orphaned 
at II. As a child he noted the ad¬ 
vantages possessed by the Ameri¬ 
can banana company officials — 
their schools and recreation rooms, 
in contrast to the wretched poverty 
and underdevelopment of Cuban 
workers. Batista never forgot the 
harsh lessons of his youth. 

At 12 he got a job with a tailor; 
he worked in the cane fields, clerked 
in a grocery store; finally became a 
conductor on the local railway line. 
He had energy and ambition, but 
he lacked education; and the only 
way he could get that was to enter 
the army. He went to an army 
night school, became an expert 
stenographer, and after 12 years 
was made a sergeant. He traveled 
over Cuba, taking dictation from 


his superiors. He learned a lot — 
and remembered all the secrets. 
Officers came to trust his clever, 
energetic mind, and permitted him 
to organize night schools. Soon he 
was the best-known sergeant in the 
army, and often wrote orders which 
his officers signed without reading. 

The curse of feudal Spain still 
lay deep on Cuba. After the Span- 
ish-American War and our with¬ 
drawal from the island, a succession 
of feeble governments had at¬ 
tempted to rule. Poverty and 
squalor; the instability caused by 
mixed blood; flaming political cor¬ 
ruption; laziness, greed among the 
rich; revolutionary agitation by the 
students — this was the back¬ 
ground. Then came the Machado 
tyranny from 1924 to 1933, one of 
the evilest governments in the 
history of the Western Hemisphere. 
Machado sucked ^80,000,000 in 
gold from American banks, and 
sucked blood from bodies of young 
Cuban students who resisted his re¬ 
gime. When Machado fell, in August 
1933, it was like taking the cover 
off a sewer. Brutality, revenge and 
terrorism seethed. 

Then Sergeant Batista calmly 
stepped in. At dawn on September 
4, 1933, sergeants in all garrisons 
announced that their officers were 
dismissed. Most of the officers 
never got up that early. They had 
lost all touch with their men. The 
rank and file stood firmly with 
Batista. He promoted himself to 
Colonel and appointed himself 



ig 4 l BATISTA, PRESIDENT OF CUBA 63 


Chief of Staff. It was as easy as 
that. His organization — all over 
Cuba — was perfect. There was no 
bloodshed at first; later terrorism 
accompanied an attempted counter¬ 
coup by officers who locked them¬ 
selves in the Hotel Nacional, but 
they were beaten. 

Batista weeded out some of his 
sergeants, restored many loyal 
officers, abolished all ranks above 
colonel, and proceeded to clean up 
Cuba. For years he worked chiefly 
from behind the scenes, making and 
unmaking presidents, maturing 
from a conspirator into a states¬ 
man. In 1940, judging that the 
time was ripe, Batista ran for prei$ 1 - 
dent and, in an election which to 
everyone's surprise was fairly and 
freely operated, was successful. 

In October 1940 he promulgated 
a new constitution which strength¬ 
ens the powers of the central gov¬ 
ernment, sketches a program of 
land reform, makes voting in elec¬ 
tions obligatory, and — in theory 
anyway — subordinates ownership 
of property and operation of com¬ 
mercial enterprises to the “social 
and economic interests of the 
state.” 

“I stand for the people,” he told 
me, “and act only with their au¬ 
thority. When I was merely com¬ 
mander in chief of the army my 
osition was somewhat abnormal, 
have become President of the 
Republic, by the choice of the peo¬ 
ple, so that I may represent the 
will of the entire Cuban nation.” 


So far has the lithe, slippery, 
smiling sergeant-stenographer ad¬ 
vanced. There may be more ad¬ 
vances to come. 

Like all men, Batista has de¬ 
fects. He is more successful as a 
politician — a showman — than as 
an administrator. He is likely to 
build things too expensively for 
Cuba's purse. For example, a 
$1,000,000 tuberculosis sanitarium 
in Santa Clara province, one of his 
favorite projects, and the grandiose 
children's playground on the Male- 
con in Havana. In such extrava¬ 
gant works, Batista is paying debt 
to his starved childhood: his brother, 
to whom he was devoted, died of 
tuberculosis for want of medical 
care, and as a youth Batista never 
even saw a playground. 

The President surrounds him¬ 
self with yes-men; he likes to be 
among people who do not make 
him uncomfortable. He is a much 
betterman than many of his friends, 
but he is, in a way, the product of a 
gang, and most of his old cronies 
are still powerful. As a result, 
Cuba continues to suffer from in¬ 
flated payrolls, corruption among 
minor officials, and nepotism. 

Batista's good quali ties are man y. 
He has intelligence, vitality, in¬ 
dustry — and little vanity. He is 
one of the few Latin-American 
heads of state who are freely, and 
sometimes brutally, caricatured in 
their own newspapers. In 1938 he 
was preparing to visit General 



THE READER'S DIGEST 


64 

Craig, then Chief of Staff of the 
U. S. Army, on his first trip out¬ 
side Cuba. Looking at the blazing 
rows of medals on his uniform, he 
cautiously asked, “How many 
decorations does General Craig 
wear?” “Only one,” came the re¬ 
ply. Batista roared, “Name of 
God! I will not go to Washington 
like a monkey on a stick — rip off 
all my medals but the two top 
rows!” 

Perhaps the most important of 
Batista’s virtues is his deep-rooted 
sense of community with the com¬ 
mon people. His ambition is to 
educate the masses and improve 
their living standards. He is, first 
and last, a people’s man. 

Batista curbed his fondness for 
gambling and alcohol, because he 
thinks it sets a bad example. He is 
happily married to a young wom¬ 
an of humble origin. 'Fhe Batistas 
are not particularly interested in 
money — unlike many of his prede¬ 
cessors, he is no looter — and thc)' 
live modest lives. The President is 
deeply fond of his three children, 
especially the boy, whom he decks 
out in uniform and calls “Little 
Sergeant.” He once told a friend, 
“No one knows who my family was, 
but anybody in the world can hear 
my boy say, ‘ My father is Batista! ’ ” 

The major problem facing Presi¬ 
dent Fulgencio Batista just now is 
sugar. The livelihood of 75 percent 
of Cuba’s population depends on 
it. When sugar rocketed in 1920 to 
per pound, Cuba, second 


August 

largest sugar producing country 
in the world, voluptu^ted in crazy 
wealth. When it fell later to 3^1^ 
the island rocked in poverty and 
panic. 

About 85 percent of Cuba’s 
sugar mills are American owned, 
and two thirds of her crop goes to 
the U. S. In return, Cuba buys our 
manufactured goods, .some |8o,- 
000,000 worth in a good year. 
American investment in Cuba — 
about ^1,200,000,000 — is our 
largest in the*hemisphere, Canada 
excepted, and is about four times 
our investment in the Far East. 

By a trade agreement signed in 
1934 we give Cuban sugar growers 
a quota, exactly as we do our do¬ 
mestic beet and cane sugar pro¬ 
ducers. But Cuban sugar entering 
the U. S. pays a stiff duty of qoj^ 
per 100 pounds. Other foreign 
countries pay a duty of $1.85; even 
so, Cubans, who are absolutely de¬ 
pendent on the U. S. market, feel 
that we take advantage of them. 
They say that our highly subsidized 
domestic sugar industry is too ex¬ 
pensive to the U. S. taxpayer. 
They point out that they could 
produce infinitely more than the 
quota (about 2,000,000 long tons a 
year) allows them. They want a 
bigger quota, and entry of their 
sugar duty free. 

Batista is absorbed, too, by the 
problem of defense and of Cuba’s 
political relations with the U. S. 
Our State Department has not 
interfered in Cuban internal poli- 



BATISTA, PRESIDENT OF CUBA 


1941 

tics since the Good Neighbor 
Policy began. Nevertheless, our in¬ 
direct influence is profound and it 
is almost inconceivable that Presi¬ 
dent Batista would take any im¬ 
portant step without first consult¬ 
ing the tactful, able U. S. ambas¬ 
sador, George Messersmith. Our 
relations with Cuba have never 
been more intimate or friendly. 
Batista told me that if we should 
be forced into the war, his country 
would follow at once. 

Cuba, covering 800 miles of 
important Caribbean frontier, is 
vital for the defense of the Panama 
Canal. At Guantanamo, on the 
southeastern tip of the island, we 
maintain an important naval sta¬ 
tion to which we reserved rights 
when we abandoned the Platt 
Amendment after the fall of Ma¬ 
chado; and every Cuban airfield is 
ready to receive our pursuit ships 
or bombers any time we send them. 

The Batista government has 
taken stronger action against fifth 
columnism than has any other 
Latin-American state. Early in 
1941 it issued a decree barring all 
totalitarian propaganda. Organi¬ 
zations affiliated with foreign pow¬ 
ers were ordered suppressed. Flags, 
uniforms, and insignia of totalitar¬ 
ian powers and political meetings 
expressing totalitarian ideas were 
banned, as well as use of the mails, 
telegraph, or radio to disseminate 
such propaganda. The President 
was given authority to deport un¬ 
desirable foreigners of totalitarian 


65 

sympathies, and even diplomats 
who overstep their normal duties 
are subject to expulsion. 

The heart of fifth columnism in 
Cuba was the Spanish Falange or¬ 
ganization which the Germans, 
comparatively inactive themselves, 
used as a front. There are about 
300,000 Spanish citizens in Cuba — 
those who, after the Spanish- 
American War, elected to retain 
their Spanish citizenship — and 
these constitute an important and 
influential group. Yet Batista had 
the courage to include the Falange 
in his anti-fifth column measures. 

The achievements of Fulgencio 
Batista are considerable. He has 
built schools, and put the army to 
work teaching in them. His pro¬ 
gram for rural rehabilitation is am¬ 
bitious. He has organized clinics, 
orphanages, and the like. His sugar 
coordination law of 1937 aims to 
improve the status of the colono 
(poor farmer) by breaking up the 
big estates. Constantly he has 
sought to reduce the inequalities 
between rich and poor. 

But his main accomplishment is 
the restoration of civil authority. 
Though an army man, he has ended 
control by the army, and is giving 
the country what promises to be 
satisfactory political stability. By' 
becoming constitutional president, 
he hopes to end buccaneering by 
the military — always Cubans most 
pressing danger. If his luck holds 
good, Batista will have solved “ the 
Cuban problem.” 



<^Why don’t we apply what we know 
to the care of the mentally ill? 


Our Ailing Mental Hospitals 

Condensed from Survey Graphic 
Edith M. Stern 


W HEN Tom McGrew, 19, was 
committed to a Maryland 
state hospital he had just 
tried to hang himself. He declared 
despairingly that “something about 
me’s all wrong.’* 

That realization, a remainder of 
the boy’s saner self, gave the hospi¬ 
tal superintendent a clue. After 
Tom’s health had improved through 
hospital treatment, the superin¬ 
tendent called him in. 

“Tom,” he said, “you were an 
auto mechanic, weren’t you? Well, 
we have a broken gas pump that no 
one seems able to fix. I want you to 
go at it two hours a day and see 
what you can find out.” 

In a few days Tom had the pump 
working perfectly. 

“Now,” the doctor said, “fix up 
our old printing press for us, will 
you?” 

“Never monkeyed with one in 
m’life,” Tom mumbled. 

“I’m sure you can make ours 
work,” the doctor said. 

And Tom did. Gradually, job by 
job, he regained self-confidence 
and the doctor decided the boy was 
ready to take his chances in the 
outside world. He called up an air¬ 


plane manufacturer, explained the 
circumstances, and said that if Tom 
were given a try he’d take him back 
the moment he made any trouble. 
That was two years ago. Today 
Tom has 40 men under him — four 
of them also “the doctor’s boys.” 
And five beds in the hospital were 
freed for other curables waiting ad¬ 
mission. 

Over 500,000 persons occupy 
mental hospital beds today —as 
many as are hospitalized for all other 
diseases together. Annually about 
120,000 new cases are admitted. 
Given prompt attention, decent 
surroundings, good food, medical 
and psychiatric care, 50 percent 
of all newly admitted patients 
leave improved or cured, the great 
majority within 18 months. 

But legislators are so penny-wise 
and pound-foolish, so indifferent to 
the fate of the insane and so vm- 
aware of the modern skills which 
can restore them to normality that 
too many of our state hospitals fail 
to effect the percentage of cures 
that would be possible. The well- 
equipped, adequately staffed mod¬ 
ern mental hospital is, in the long 
run, an economy. The old-fash- 


Copyrigbt 1941, Survey Associates^ /w., iia E. ig St.f N. T. C. 
(Survey Graphic., August, *4/) 



OUR AILING MENTAL HOSPITALS 


67 


ioned “insane asylum,” a walled 
dumping ground for broken minds, 
is not only an anachronism but an 
extravagance. Left to deteriorate in 
such institutions, unreached by 
new therapies that have wrought 
spectacular cures, the mentally ill 
spend the rest of their lives as in¬ 
voluntary guests of taxpayers. 

To utilize modern methods would 
mean abolishing political jobs, re¬ 
ducing by preventive measures the 
number of new admissions, and 
ridding our expensively maintained 
institutions of every patient who 
under proper supervision could be 
kept elsewhere. Above all, it would, 
mean equipping our institutions 
with proper staffs and facilities. 

Instead, we are in danger of go¬ 
ing in the opposite direction. Be¬ 
tween 1929 and 1936 annual per 
capita expenditure for mental pa¬ 
tients dropped from $312 to $269, 
and in some states mental hygiene 
retrogressed a generation. One 
legislature refused a hospital |io,- 
000 for insulin shock treatment the 
same year it appropriated $100,000 
for testing Bang’s disease in cattle. 
A state which pays prison guards 
$125 to $165 a month gives its hos¬ 
pital attendants $40. 

The national average of over¬ 
crowding in state hospitals is 11 
percent; in some states as high as 
50 percent. Corridors are used for 
sleeping space, with mattresses 
overlapping. Not uncommon are 
beds so close that patients must 
climb over the ends to get in. In 


one state hospital a survey by the 
National Committee for Mental 
Hygiene found epileptic, paretic, 
noisy and mute Negroes herded to¬ 
gether in their only day room, 
which served also as a dining room. 
At another hospital two toilets and 
two washbowls were provided for 
a ward of 182 patients who should 
have been learning their A B C’s of 
mental rehabilitation through reg¬ 
ular habits of cleanliness and elimi¬ 
nation. 

In most mental hospitals the few 
doctors face the alternative of con¬ 
centrating on a few hopeful cases or 
giving cursory treatment to all. 
Either way, people who might be 
getting well are missing their 
chance. To meet the minimum 
standard — one physician to every 
150 patients — we need nearly 
twice as many doctors in state hos¬ 
pitals. In one western state the 
superintendent of a 600-bed insti¬ 
tution is also its only doctor. 

Under such conditions even ele¬ 
mentary medical care is almost im¬ 
possible. Psychotherapy and psy¬ 
choanalysis involve slow gaining of 
the patient's confidence, hours of 
leisurely conversations. The vari¬ 
ous shock therapies — metrazol, 
insulin, electric — require close watch¬ 
ing: one series of insulin shock 
treatments may take 196 hours of a 
physician’s time, 296 of a nurse’s. 
Yet the new treatments are efiec- 
tive. If fever therapy is given early 
enough, 90 percent of paretics are 
restored to usefulness. 



68 THE READER S DIGEST August 


Skilled nursing care pays high 
dividends also, yet some state hos¬ 
pitals have no graduate nurses in 
the wards, and such nurses consti¬ 
tute only lo percent of all ward 
personnel in mental institutions. 
The atmosphere and working con¬ 
ditions and political meddling in 
most hospitals are so bad that high- 
grade attendants are rare. Hours in 
many state hospitals are from I2 
to i6 a day. 

In one western hospital the crim¬ 
inal insane never get outdoors. 
“We plan better for captive tigers,” 
the National Committee for Men¬ 
tal Hygiene comments. With an 
insujfficient night force, violent pa¬ 
tients are tied in bed or locked in at 
night — sometimes with no toilet 
facilities. Yet the doctors know 
that mechanical restraint increases 
the patient’s resentment. They 
know that keeping busy through 
“activity therapy” is better for 
melancholics than confinement. But 
they can’t apply all they know, be¬ 
cause we leave them shorthanded. 

Some states have valiantly tried 
to provide adequate buildings. 
New York spent 00,000, cxdo on 
new buildings from 1923 to 1930, 
but with 2500 new admissions an¬ 
nually its present state hospitals 
will be overcrowded by 1943, and a 
new bond issue has been floated to 
provide increased facilities. But 
new buildings are not enough. 

The real tragedy is that much of 
the $200,000,000 we now expend 
annually on mental illness goes 


blindly, planlessly, politically. Only 
nine states appoint nfental hospital 
employes through civil service. In 
seven there is a complete turnover 
whenever the party in control of 
the state government changes. In 
at least 14 other states, politics in¬ 
terfere with sound management. 

With mental hygiene a happy 
hunting ground for political pat¬ 
ronage, no long-time consistent 
program is possible. Such a program 
would intensify preventive meas¬ 
ures, change methods of commit¬ 
ment, and aim to secure as rapid a 
patient turnover in state hospitals 
as possible. 

Mental hygiene clinics, func¬ 
tioning in 34 states, have shown 
that incipient disorders, especially 
in children, can often be checked. 
One state estimates that its $30,000 
investment in clinics annually saves 
$140,000 in correctional institu¬ 
tions. Psychopathic wards in gen¬ 
eral hospitals are another dam 
against the flood of admissions; 
with prompt, short-term treatment 
they send men and women back to 
their families instead of to the state 
hospital. 

In too many states, the insane 
are still treated like criminals. 
They are tried by jury — “just as 
if we called in the neighbors to 
diagnose meningitis,” a young psy¬ 
chiatrist told me bitterly — thrown 
into jail, and taken, perhaps man¬ 
acled, to the hospital by a sheriff. 
Those whose fantasies are built on 
guilt feel all the more guilty; those 



OUR AILING MENTAL HOSPITALS 


X94^ 

under delusions of persecution feel 
more convinced than ever that un¬ 
just enemies are responsible. 

For lack of social service ar¬ 
rangements, many patients well 
enough to be discharged under su¬ 
pervision linger on in ever more 
crowded institutions. Yet for 40 
years Massachusetts has been dem¬ 
onstrating a way to stop. over¬ 
crowding. It is the family care 
system — more permanent, satis¬ 
factory and cheaper than building 
new wards. Under supervision by a 
state agency, patients are placed in 
private homes as boarders or as 
employes. Ontario, Canada, h|s 
1000 patients in family care — 
enough to fill a good-sized institu¬ 
tion. During April, at one Mary¬ 
land hospital, the full cost of the 
social service department and fam¬ 
ily placement of 90 patients was 
$746.15: those same patients in the 
hospital would have cost taxpay¬ 
ers $2700. 

In rural Maryland I visited with 
a social worker a patient who had 
spent 16 years in the state hospital. 
Now, in a comfortable home with a 
kindly middle-aged couple, she sup¬ 
ports herself by assisting with the 
housework. In some states she 
would be one of many unhappily 
herded inmates in a huge institu¬ 
tion. 

As yet, only 27 states invest in 
psychiatric social workers. So peo¬ 
ple like Henry, who waited on me 


69 

expertly in the staff dining room of 
a state hospital, stay on at public 
expense, prevent the acutely ill 
from gaining admission. Long ago 
Henry was brought to the hospital 
shouting that he ought to be on 
the throne of England, but now he 
whispers his delusion only to a few 
close friends; he could support 
himself as a waiter if he could 
board with an understanding care¬ 
taker. Or Robert, general factotum 
at another state hospital: there 
isn't a thing wrong with him any 
longer except that he has grown 

afraid” to leave the institution. 
A few months under the protection 
of a supervised family to give him 
reassurance, and more than likely 
he’d become a valuable office em¬ 
ploye. 

Yes, much can be done to de¬ 
crease the admission rate, shorten 
the time of hospitalization, stop 
overcrowding, and save taxpayers’ 
money in the long run. But it re¬ 
quires action by the state legis¬ 
latures, and they won’t act without 
pressure of public opinion. 

The National Committee for 
Mental Hygiene, 1790 Broadway, 
New York, can tell you exactly 
what conditions are in your state 
institutions. Then you can tell 
your legislators, and demand that 
something be done. Only thus can 
we hope humanely and thriftily to 
convert wretched tax burdens into 
producers. 



CA noted American author visits the heart of Africa, 
where Frenchmen of all classes are joining De Gaulle, 
hoping to battle Hitler, to found a new France 

Free Fmnce on the Conga 

Condensed from The Living Age 
Ben Lucien Burman 


O N THE palm-fringed river 
I Negroes glide past in a dug- 
out, chanting as they ply 
their long paddles. On the shore 
women in fantastic costumes 
are talking in their curious 
liquid language that rushes 
like a waterfall. Deep in the 
forest I hear the throbbing 
of a tomtom, beating out its 
mysterious message. This is 
the Congo, heart of the darkness 
of Africa. 

Suddenly the sharp beat of mili¬ 
tary drums drowns the far-off throb¬ 
bing. Troops march past, white 
soldiers with gay young faces, sing¬ 
ing Madelon. An airplane marked 
with the cross of Lorraine appears 

Ben Lucien Burman flew to Africa in 
March with his wife and illustrator, Alice 
Caddy, to report the war on that continent. 
In the last war Mr. Burman fought with 
the A.E.F., was wounded and gassed at 
Soissons. Later he worked as a reporter in 
Boston and New York; he then returned to 
his home in Covington, Ky., and there 
gathered material for his famous stories 
about river life. It is his habit to go far from 
his chosen scene to get perspective on his 
material, and he lived in North Africa while 


overhead. Here, astride the equator, 
France miraculously survives. 

In Paris the spirit of France is 
entombed beneath the swastika. In 
Vichy* the old men join 
hands with their conquerors. 
Here in Brazzaville, capital 
of Dc Gaulle’s Free France, 
brave men are rallying and 
taking oath never to return 
to their native land so long 
as a single German soldier stands 
on its soil. 

It is stirring, it is moving — and 
important. De Gaulle Africa is a 
vast empire, stretching from the 
busy Atlantic ports of Pointe Noire 
and Douala 2000 miles across forest 
and desert to Egypt. It controls the 
Tchad, keystone of an arch formed 
by the British colonies fringing both 
coasts of the continent. Should this 
keystone fall the Nazis could push 
down between the two pillars of 
British territory and take the heart 
of the continent. The Belgians 
frankly admit that but for the 
Free French their colony just across 
the Congo River would long ago 
have been seized by the Germans, 
covetous of its rubber and metals. 

Moreover, the Tchad, with its 


wnting Mississippi in 1929. Among his 
other books are Steamboat Round the Bend^ 
Blow for a Landing, and Big River to Q'oss, 



Copyright tp4i. The Living Age Co., Ine., 420 Madison Ave., N. T, C, 
7Q {The Living Age, July, >/) 


FREE FRANCE ON THE CONGO 


7t 


formidable^ Arab and black war¬ 
riors, holds a sword against the 
side of the Germans and Italians 
in Libya. It is a dangerous sword, 
for the desert of Tibesti is a weird 
land out of which warriors who 
know its mysteries suddenly ma¬ 
terialize, strike, and disappear. "^I'he 
Germans and Italians have felt the 
sting of De Gaulle fire at Tobruk 
and Bengazi, at Keren and Addis 
Ababa, at Cufra and Murzuch. 
Moreover the De Gaulle African 
troops have provided a rallying 
point around which France can 
gather the remnants of her strength. 

More patriots arrive each day—■ 
rich and poor, young and old, from 
Arles and Amiens, from Perpignan 
and Paris, from the Alps and the 
Pyrenees. An aged and famous sci¬ 
entist has stolen past the German 
lines to make his perilous way south¬ 
ward. A simple Breton fisherman 
somehow has managed to sail his 
own craft to free soil. Twelve Cath¬ 
olic priests have laid aside their 
robes and serve as soldiers. Others 
have come from Martinique and 
Madagascar, from Algiers and 
Angkor. 

Each man’s tale is a saga of pa¬ 
tience and courage, often high mel¬ 
odrama. Take Captain Dupont, a 
jolly, bearded aviator, who set out 
from Indo-China with 20 fellow 
officers and men, on bicycles, to 
reach a friendly frontier several 
hundred miles away. They lost 
their way in the jungle, ran out of 
food. A tiger got one. Another died 


of fever. That left 19 — for a little 
while. Then there were 15, 12, ii. 
At last, after weeks of journeying, 
they saw the frontier which meant 
safety. But as they stole through 
the woods one of them stumbled 
noisily. A Vichy border patrol cap¬ 
tured all except Captain Dupont; 
he got to the sea, saw an English 
destroyer on patrol, and is now 
here. 

Then there is Corporal Gilbert, a 
French boy too young for the army 
when war began. With some soldiers 
he started to leave Paris as the 
Germans were nearing. One of the 
soldiers who had worked for the 
French railways guided the others 
to the yards where they seized a 
locomotive. It carried them until 
they came to a bombed bridge. 
They found an abandoned automo¬ 
bile and begged enough gas to get a 
few miles farther. Then on foot to 
the coast, where their pooled cash 
bought a small boat from a fisher¬ 
man. After five days in a heavy fog 
they reached Cornwall — seven 
more men to serve under the cross 
of Lorraine. 

I'he exodus from France to this 
Free France has become so serious 
that Vichy has barred all males be¬ 
tween 19 and 41 from the coastal 
regions and the frontiers. Vichy 
considers all men here traitors. 1 
Their property has been confis¬ 
cated, many are under sentence of 
death. But they are the men to 
whom France some day will erect 
its monuments. 



72 


IHli S UHiJKST 


j/lUgUSt 



Ironically, some of them arc the 
sons of Vichy generals who, in court 
martial, sentenced De Gaulle lead¬ 
ers to death. Many bear assumed 
names, for obvious reasons. But 
young Becour Foch, of the famous 
general’s family, does not. 

Petain denounced "'the youth of 
France, who, he said, had failed the 
country in its crisis. They retort in 
one voice, “Tell America it was the 
weak old men, like P6tain, who lost 
France for us. It was P6tain who 
killed the soul of France.” Here 
Frenchmen of all classes from 
every part of the empire say that 
Petain not only betrayed France 
but now is willingly handing over 
what is left. 

Meanwhile this straggling little 


settlement, suddenly become the 
capital of an empire, is working 
feverishly night and day, building 
encampments, assembling material, 
imj^rovising equipment out of na¬ 
tive resources and sometimes, it 
seems, out of the steaming air. 
There is a school for officers, a little 
West Point of Free France with 
well over a hundred students, in¬ 
cluding many who once were ca¬ 
dets at St. Cyr. Its first class al¬ 
ready has been graduated and is 
serving at the front. 

There are troops of all kinds — 
how many I may not say.* But on 

* General Charles de Gaulle's Free French 
forces, according to the most reliable estimates 
available in the U. S., are composed of a nucleus 
of some 45,000 men, not including those who have 
gone over to the Free French side during the 









FREE FRANCE ON THE CONGO 


73 


1941 

the coast one encounters bronzed 
Norman marines manning great 
guns. One sees sailors of patrol 
boats or destroyers that are refuel¬ 
ing at Douala. The uniform of the 
devil-may-care Foreign Legion is 
no longer a novelty on forest 
trails. 

Negro troops are on every hand 
— great tall men from the Tchad 
in flaming red uniforms, and the 
native militia, their black faces tat¬ 
tooed with strange designs that in¬ 
dicate whether they arc of the tribe 
of Batiki or Basoundi or Madoumi. 
Their camps dot the country every¬ 
where. Tn the deep forests they are 
little straw villages like those Stan¬ 
ley saw when he searched for Liv¬ 
ingstone. In Brazzaville they are 
tall cones of adobe, painted in 
brilliant stripes of white and scarlet. 
Every married native has his own 
little dwelling where his wife pre¬ 
pares his meal of manioc and p^aya. 
Every night when the moon is full 
I can hear them dancing to the 
tomtom in rhythm identical with 
the jazz of a New York night club. 

The number of troops increases 
each day, making it difficult to get 
a bed and the essential mosquito 
net. New buildings are hurriedly 
built of timber from the towering 
forest. 

This activity under a sun that 
burns like a blowtorch is rich testi¬ 
mony to the power of the human 

Syrian campaign. Naval strength totals 400,000 
tons, consisting of more than 100 vessels; over 
1000 fliers are enrolled in the air force. 


spirit. There is no machinery here, 
no equipment, no money. The little 
shops have long since been empty. 
The breaking of a cheap dish be¬ 
comes a calamity, for it cannot be 
replaced. Yet with infinite patience, 
with cleverness, with gaiety, cast- 
oflF sewing machines are made to 
fashion uniforms; rifles gnd water 
bottles are conjured up somehow, 
and a few more young men eagerly 
go off to battle. 

The story of how Brazzaville, 
nerve center of all this activity, 
was seized for Free France is indic¬ 
ative of the spirit of its leaders. A 
group of French officials of the re¬ 
gion — chief of whom was an army 
doctor with the rank of general, a 
tall, blue-eyed Breton beloved of 
whites and natives alike — decided 
they would never obey the armis¬ 
tice; if necessary they would join 
the British to continue the fight. 

A few days later the appeal of 
General de Gaulle came over the 
radio from London. Through the 
jungle these patriotic Frenchmen 
sped to the most remote outposts to 
rally their comrades to join him. 
The Governor, to crush the move¬ 
ment, ordered the troops he sus¬ 
pected to surrender their ammuni¬ 
tion. The officers emptied the am¬ 
munition boxes and sent them to 
headquarters filled with stones. On* 
the day set for the revolt De Gaulle 
soldiers surrounded the palace of 
the Governor and ordered him to 
surrender. The Governor prepared 
to open fire, but when emissaries of 



74 


THE READER'S DIGEST 


De Gaulle forces informed him of 
the real situation he capitulated. 
Without the expenditure of even a 
blank cartridge, the Congo was 
saved for De Gaulle. 

Already Free Frenchmen here 
have made a beginning toward 
building a new and better France. 
Brave young women teachers are 
arriving to establish schools for the 
children of the whites and natives. 
Scientists and doctors are experi¬ 
menting with chemicals to wipe 
out the maladies which scourge 
this fabulously rich region, that it 
may become a promised land where 
peaceful, intelligent indiv'iduals can 
fulfill their destiny. 

Outside mv window women 
have come with frenzied beating of 
drums to exhibit newborn twins, 
lying naked in a basket. A young 


chimpanzee captured in the nearby 
woods is dancing excitedly at the 
end of his chain, trying to reach 
the huge papayas drooping over his 
head. Masamba, the native boy, 
comes in with a snake he has killed 
in the garden, the deadly “minute 
snake” whose bite is said to stop 
the heart within 6o seconds. Black 
clouds are gathering overhead for 
the daily storm. The room is stifling. 
I reach for my quinine. This is the 
Congo, the heart of darkness. 

'I'o the beat of military drums, 
young French soldiers march past 
with the flag of the cross of Lor¬ 
raine flying proudly. I see the light 
in their faces. In far-off France men 
talk of helping their country’s in¬ 
vaders. Here they talk only of how 
to defeat them. This is no longer 
the heart of darkness. This is the 
Congo, the cradle of New France. 


Sii 


ustrative Anecdotes — 49 


C. Trying to give a friend a definition 
of “oratory,” a Negro elucidated thus. “If you says black am 
white, dat’s foolish. But if you says black am white, an’ beliefs 
like a bull an’ pounds de table with both fists, dat’s oratory.” 

— Btighly 

C "May I ask you the secret of success?” 
an ambitious young man said to a great merchant. 

“There is no easy secret,” replied the merchant. “You must 
jump at your opportunity." 

“But how can I tell when my opportunity comes?” 

“You can’t,” snapped the merchant. “You have to keep 
jumping.” —Grit 



The Refugee Relief Workroom of Summit, N. J., 
builds community spirit out of work for folks in need 


'‘'‘Wee'll Put to Good Use What You're 

Throwing Away" 

Condensed from The Commonweal 
Fillmore Hyde 


A YEAR AGO last Spring Mrs. 
John Morrison Curtis of 
k. Summit, N. J., put a want 
ad in the local paper asking for 
things ordinarily thrown away 
during housecleaning; old clothes, 
shoes, curtains — anything. She 
would make these useless things 
useful, make something out of 
nothing. Adept at dress designing 
and handy with the needle, she 
planned to send the reconditioned 
articles to the harried civilians of 
Europe. 

She expected some response, of 
course, but not the overwhelming 
one that came. Friends and stran¬ 
gers alike emptieil attics, collected 
old woolens from closets. Soon her 
living room overflowed with out¬ 
moded donations. Mrs. Curtis got 
two friends to help. Two weeks 
later all three women were snowed 
under. So, after consultation with 
the Red Cross, Mrs. Curtis organ¬ 
ized the Refugee Relief Workroom 
and asked the town of Summit to 
pitch in. 

The town did. By June of this 
year, I5<x) women from Summit 
and vicinity had enrolled as work¬ 


ers, and the idea had spread to 
thousands of other women in 45 
cooperating groups, some of them 
90 miles away. Virtually every 
merchant in Summit had contrib¬ 
uted to make the Workroom a rous¬ 
ing success. Cobblers, laundries, 
dry cleaners, printers, all lent a 
hand. In the past year the Work¬ 
room turned out 35,000 recondi¬ 
tioned garments, 2300 fresh quilts, 
36,000 baby garments, 7200 gar¬ 
ments for boys and girls, 2100 pairs 
of shoes — all in perfect condition, 
things that anyone would be glad 
to have. 

The first inkling of what Summit 
was prepared to do came when 
Mrs. Curtis asked a local A & P ex¬ 
ecutive if the new Workroom could 
occupy a recently vacated store on 
Main Street. The lease had three 
months to run, the rent was paid. 
“You bet you can,” he said. “Tm 
only sorry it isn’t in apple-pie order. 
Needs a little paint.” 

That afternoon she was telling a 
friend about it, while out for a drive. 
The friend’s chauffeur spoke up: 
“I could get my friends and we’d 
paint the place for you in our spare 


Copyright 1941 ^ Commonweal Puh. Co., Ine.,j86 Fourth dot., N. T. C. 
{The Commonweal, July t8, '41) 


75 



THE READER S DIGEST 


August 


76 

time.” And so it was. A hardware 
store donated paint, a painting 
contractor lent brushes and ladders. 

Mrs. Curtis remembers with 
amusement the discussions as to 
whether the Workroom should stay 
open two, or three, hours each day. 
The town settled the argument. 
The amount of material that 
poured in, the number of workers 
that volunteered kept the Work¬ 
room open six days a week all day, 
and three evenings. 

All give what time they can. 
Regular hours are not required. 
“People don't like to get tangled 
up in regulations,” says Mrs, Cur¬ 
tis. She has kept the records sim¬ 
ple. Each worker’s card shows a 
series of scribbled entries; “June 
18 — took material for 12 caps.” 
Then underneath: “June 23 — 
brought in 12 caps.” 

Another principle that has made 
the Workroom successful is — no 
bossing. The materials that come 
in are so varied that there is plenty 
of choice as to work. One woman 
likes to make baby bootees, sits up 
in bed at night to do it. A housewife 
with limited sewing experience lined 
14 men’s overcoats, after persuad¬ 
ing a tailor to show her how. One 
heroic soul who earns her living as 
a companion has darned 3168 socks. 
In the evenings Armenian, Turk¬ 
ish and Syrian women from the mill 
section of the town come in to cut 
and mend. Women who don’t want 
to sew can sort, or cut, or pack, or 
do errands. Children glue small 


scraps of woolen onto muslin as 
lining for quilts, or polish shoes and 
put in new laces. 

When their time in the A & P 
store was up, a Newark bank lent 
them another vacant store. The 
store beside it was vacant too, and 
the Workroom overflowed into that 
with the landlord’s approval. The 
electric light company gave cur¬ 
rent for lights and sewing machines. 
When cold weather came a coal 
company gave coal. Shoes are re¬ 
paired free hy local cobblers. One 
of them, asked why he does it, re¬ 
plied: “ I can’t do much for human¬ 
ity, but what I can I like to do. It 
makes me feel good.” The head of 
a department store who donates 
broken stock and leftovers said, 
“Those women work so hard they 
make me ashamed of myself. They 
haven’t the idea that any sloppy 
job is good enough for charity. 
They send out really good and at¬ 
tractive stuff.” 

Approximately icx> garments are 
dry-cleaned or laundered each week, 
gratis. An Armenian cleaner wanted 
the privilege of doing all their clean¬ 
ing. He said: “I come to this coun¬ 
try 28 years ago without a cent. 
This town has give me all I have. I 
sent two girls to college. Now’s my 
chance to do something for America.” 

Mrs. Curtis and her committee 
chairmen have learned how to do 
surprising things with scraps. Two 
one-yard samples will make a little 
boy’s suit, a little girl’s dress. Five 
half-yard samples will make a child’s 



“we'll use what you're throwing away" 


77 


1941 


pajamas. They make baby pads out 
of cotton rug linings, warm and 
pretty quilts out of small scraps. 
Odds and ends that won’t shape 
into usable garments they make 
into toy animals and dolls, which 
they sell to get cash to buy yarn 
and flannel — virtually the only 
things they have to buy. Last Christ¬ 
mas, with remnants of curly black 
artificial fur, they made toy Scot¬ 
ties, netted $100. 

A Summit girl who works as sec¬ 
retary with a New York cotton 
goods firm put together a sample 
case showing the surprisingly pretty 
things that can be made out of m^l 
samples, and used her lunch hours 
to trot around to other wholesale 
dry-goods companies. Almost al¬ 
ways the response was: “Why, we 
have a lot of old samples and odd 
bits. If you can make things like 
that out of scraps you’re more than 
welcome to them.’’ Since then thou¬ 
sands of yards of material have 
been donated by New York firms. 

Now the Workroom has a dis¬ 
play in a vacant store in the Man¬ 
hattan textile center. The idea is to 
show textile men what can be done 
with what they throw away and 
tempt girls who work in that dis¬ 
trict to sew while on their commut¬ 
ing trains and to take material 
home for their mothers to work on. 

Bridge clubs in nearby towns have 
changed to sewing clubs. Women on 
vacation take sewing with them. 

The Workroom’s products are 
shipped abroad through the Com¬ 


mittee of Mercy in Nev/ York to 
wherever the need is greatest. But 
the Workroom is always ready to 
answer requests from American com¬ 
munities. Last winter 50 back- 
woods Tennessee children were 
warmly dressed in clothes the Work¬ 
room collected in one week. When 
the house of a Negro family burned 
recently, the Workroom provided the 
family with new clothes and bedding. 

In giving advice to other com¬ 
munities which want to try the 
something-out-of-nothing idea, Mrs. 
Curtis warns not to make elaborate 
plans. “Use what you have in 
goods and talent,” she says, “and 
don’t worry about money, don’t 
appeal for funds. The idea is sim¬ 
ple. And it works.” 

All sorts of people, all nation¬ 
alities and walks of life have helped 
make it work. Ask the head of the 
Summit Express Company why he, 
a businessman, carries free the 
crates and barrels that go each 
Thursday from Summit to New 
York, and he glares at you. “ I hope 
I still have a little idealism,” he 
says indignantly. 

“If a thing like this will succeed 
in Summit,” said a citizen, “it will 
succeed anywhere. Our population 
is split up in various groups — com¬ 
muters, mill people, the shopkeep¬ 
ers — and I’ve heard it said you 
could never bring us together on 
anything. But the Workroom shows 
that if you get a real idea you can 
bring any town together — with en¬ 
thusiasm.” 



€L Lamentations of a harassed father 


The Character of My Children’ 

Condensed from Good Housekeeping 
Edmund Ware 


M y children demand exclu¬ 
sive rights to the piano, 
..typewriter, newspaper, 
garden hose, or whatever another 
has at the moment. They demand 
the incredible and the impossible, 
with utmost confidence in getting 
it. But above all they demand love. 

Usually they take our love for 
granted; but in times when there is 
doubt about their having it they 
make painful experiments to test 
its quality and tensile strength. 
They jump into my lap from a 
distance of several feet, regardless 
of my recently replenished stom¬ 
ach. In the early morning they 
crawl, with cold feet and sharp 
knees, into my bed. Soon warfare 
rages over, upon, and around me. 
If there be but one child in search 
of love, he will scratch himself, 
yawn, jackknife his knees, and 
finally rise on elbows to peer at me, 
making my sleep a reproachful 
thing. 

On being urged by their mother 
to arise and dress, the children fill 
the air with wails and protesta¬ 
tions, following which they ad¬ 
vance upon the bathroom, strewing 
garments in their wake (subse¬ 
quently inquiring who has stolen 


the garments) and sit about, gos¬ 
siping and exhausting the hot- 
water supply. I seek solitude in the 
second bathroom; but as I draw 
near 1 hear the lamentations of my 
youngest, who has locked himself 
within and whose tub runneth 
over. 

At the breakfast table the battle 
of the honey jar is forgotten when 
the mailman rings the doorbell. 
The children jump, the little one 
falling from his high chair. They 
topple furniture and skid the rugs, 
they seize the mail, fiinging aside 
letters not addressed to them. Their 
mother and I wearily gather up 
this residue, which includes bills 
for tuition, milk, raiment, and 
roller skates. 

Now, en masse, the children 
pounce upon the newspaper, shred¬ 
ding it in search of the comic page, 
which they arrange on the floor and 
feast upon in silent rapture, heads 
down, bottoms up. 

A new pandemonium is soon 
loosed when the morning telephone 
calls of their friends begin — a mad 
trampling, a racing, a shuddering 
of chandeliers. Those who have 
not been personally summoned 
charge upstairs to listen in on the 


Copyright 1941 t Heerst Magaunes^ Inc.^ jy St. at Eighth N. T. C. 

{Good Housekeepings Junes *^) 



THE CHARACTER OF MY CHILDREN 


79 


other phone and hurl insults into 
the transmitter; battle again rages 
and is projected over the wires to 
the sons and daughters of genteel 
and respected neighbors. 

On sunny days the children 
sally forth on bicycles, scooter or 
kiddy car. The little one rings 
doorbells at the houses of neigh¬ 
bors, some of whom are strangers; 
but he has no fear. When his ring 
is answered he melts the tenant’s 
heart with a single look and de¬ 
mands refreshment, or direction to 
the bathroom. On rainy or snowy 
afternoons they clamor for money 
and transportation to the movieSi, 
each to the theater of his choice. 

My children have a strange 
language, a system of noises such 
as '‘Yah-yah,” “Nah,” “Hah,” 
“Wow,” “Lissen,” “Look,” and 
“That’s an awful lie!” With only 
a few more expressions than these, 
they predict their futures, outline 
their philosophies and sketch their 
achievements. 

They battle bitterly among them¬ 
selves, but if one is reproved for 
playing with matches, breaking 
a dish or inscribing the wallpaper, 
they instantly cleave together 
against me, so that my cause is lost. 

There is no manner of knowing 
where they go by day or when the 
older ones return by night; except 
that when I wake in the small 
hours during school vacation I find 
the downstairs lights blazing, the 
refrigerator ravished, and one or 
more radios giving forth swing. 


I go about putting things to 
rights and, determined to punish 
the culprit, I stalk into the bed¬ 
room of the oldest, turn on the 
light and look long and savagely 
upon him, seeing the flesh of my 
flesh, and the look of peace and in¬ 
nocence upon the sleeping face. 
The parted lips are moist and 
young; the lids look pale, for they 
are closed against the tan of the 
cheeks, and I am swelled by my 
great love for this boy, and I for¬ 
give him, and cannot believe that 
he ever asked me for a convertible 
coupe with white side walled tires, 
or that he asked in desperate ear¬ 
nest if he could get married next 
year, when he will be 15. 

In the morning, with tender 
interest, I ask, “Where did you go 
last night?” 

But he is outraged by my 
question, and replies: “Nowhere! 
Why?” 

In hurt despair, I rise grimly 
from the table, my breakfast but 
four fifths eaten. There is dignity 
in my gesture, gait, and counte¬ 
nance — and at the moment when 
I feel I have struck deeply into 
the conscience of my children, I 
step upon a golf ball and am 
brought low. 

Bright laughter from the table; 
the little one comes to gaze down 
upon me with delight and wonder. 
It is no doubt he who left the ball 
on the floor and, arising, I address 
him in fierce words. He barks back, 
and as my words grow fiercer and 



8o 


THE READER'S DIGEST 


it seems to him that I am about to 
lay hands upon him, he utters a 
squeak and scurries to the arms of 
his mother, who comforts him for 
the thing that has happened not to 
him, but to me. 

My children will not mow the 
lawn, neither will they shove) the 
snow, but gladly will they walk in 
the shovel^ paths, and lightly will 
they treat the aches and pains of 
him who shoveled, calling me old 
before my time. They listen with 
acute boredom to stories of my boy¬ 
hood, when 1 had to carry water 
and chop wood. 

On birthdays and Christmas the 
children prepare immense lists 
of the bare necessities of their 
lives. Last Yuletime the peak was 
reached. The children had retired 
to bed and their mother and 1 were 
examining the lists of their needs. 
No trouble was to be found with 
the little one’s list: he was as yet 
unable to write. The second oldest’s 
ran mainly to horses, saddles and 
dogs. She had even named one or 
two horses whose fame as race¬ 
track winners established their 
prices as probably not more than 
140,000 apiece. 

Coming at last to the list of my 
oldest boy, I held it under his moth¬ 


er’s eyes, crying: “Just look at 
this! An autogiro. A tuxedo. And 
‘A trip by plane to Suh Valley; but 
if trip to S. V., must also have new 
skis. Also new ski boots, ski pants 
and jacket. Also movie camera. 
Also—”' 

My wife put her arm on my 
shoulder and said: “He’s only 14, 
dear. This list is just a dream, and 
he knows it.” 

“Weil, why don’t our children 
behave like other children ? Why do 
they squabble all the time.? What is 
the matter with us, that we haven’t 
been able to bring them up prop¬ 
erly?” 

“ Dearest,” my wife said. “ Please 
don’t get so excited.” 

‘Txx)k at the W’intringham chil¬ 
dren!” I rushed on. “Why aren’t 
our children like them?” 

The telephone rang. I answered 
it. It was Mrs. Wintringham calling 
to say that she would like to have 
our three oldest children come to a 
Christmas party. She added that 
our children were the finest she had 
ever known; their manners were 
beautiful; thev were unselfish, and 
so thoughtful of other people. She 
ended by asking how we brought 
them up, that she might apply a 
similar technique to her own. 


That Soviet Decree 

CIn his article “Socialism Doesn’t Jibe With Human Nature” 
in our June issue, Max Eastman referred to a Soviet decree extending 
the death penalty for theft to children 12 years old as having been 
published in Pravda^ April 8, 1939. It should have read 1935. 



H Was Wilson's vision of “an organized common 
peace” futile idealism —or stark realism? 


The Ghost of W^oodrow W^Uson 

Condensed from Harper*s Magazine 


Gerald Johnson 


I T WAS in 1924 that a doctor 
turned in a death certificate 
with the name of Woodrow 
Wilson on it; but he was really dead 
long before. Prior to 1920 the na¬ 
tion had turned impatiently from 
the man who knew so little of the 
world of reality that he predicted 
catastrophe unless this country 
should pledge its military and eco¬ 
nomic strength to the suppression 
of disturbers of the peace, even 
though in the beginning it might 
not be our own peace that they dis¬ 
turbed. 

Woodrow Wilson had predicted 
that if dictators were not stopped 
early, by the combined power of 


Gerald W. Johnson has long been ab¬ 
sorbed in American history and has written 
a number of well-known volumes on the 
subject, fiorn in North Carolina, Mr. 
Johnson worked for two newspapers there 
and founded another before he became 
professor of journalism at the state uni¬ 
versity. Since 1926 he has been an edi¬ 
torial writer for Baltimore’s famous "Sun- 
papers'* Mr. Johnson’s books include 
biographies of Andrew Jackson and John 
Randolph, and the recent America's Silver 
Age. This article is one of a series of por¬ 
traits of famous Americans which will ap¬ 
pear in book form in the fall. 


the free nations, they would even¬ 
tually imperil, if they did not com¬ 
pletely wreck, civilization. 

That was a magnificent joke in 
1919, and it is an even more mag¬ 
nificent joke in 194I; the only dif¬ 
ference is that there is some doubt 
now as to who is the butt of the 
joke. In 1931 there was no ques¬ 
tion about it; we still laughed at 
the man who had said that if we 
rejected the league of Nations we 
should break the heart of the world. 
The laughter slackened, though, in 
1933 when Adolf Hitler came to 
power, and it has been diminishing 
steadily ever since. 

For now, as we face the red tide 
rising about us, there seems to be 
great perspicuity in the words 
Wilson spoke on January 22, 1917: 
“There must be, not a balance of 
power, but a community of power; 
not organized rivalries, but an or¬ 
ganized common peace.” 

When war began in 1914 Wilson 
seems to have shared the delusion, 
common to most Americans, that 
the conflict might be localized on 
the continent of Europe. But once 
he realized that the United States 
must be a participant, he reached 


Copyright Harper (d Brotherst 4p E. jj St., N. T. C. 

{Harper's, June, '41) Sr 



82 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


the uncompromising conclusion that 
participation was justifiable only if 
it led to the creation of safeguards 
against a repetition of the disaster. 
He desired a peace treaty based on 
reason and right; but he was pre¬ 
pared to accept, and unhappily did 
accept, a questionable treaty, pro¬ 
vided he secured the erection of 
machinery by which subsequent 
international disputes might be 
settled juridically, rather than by 
violence. 

So much for Wilson. But what 
sort of country was he leading into 
this campaign? It was a slack and 
slipshod country — certainly not a 
country given to scientific precision 
in its thinking. The country was 
filled with wrath against Germany 
and it wanted to see Germany 
whipped. That was the sole and 
simple basis of its war-making. 
With it the creation of an improved 
world order was incidental to vic¬ 
tory, whereas with Wilson victory 
was incidental to the creation of the 
new order. 

A I.eague of Nations backed by 
the full moral and military power 
of the United States, Wilson’s so¬ 
lution, might not have worked. 
But the mere beating of Germany, 
the solution the people preferred 
and imposed, did not work. That 
fact is written in fire and blood 
across the map of the world today. 

Wilson failed in the creation of 
a new world order because his 
country was not equal to the bur¬ 
den he imposed upon it. A nation 


such as the United States was in 
1919 could not comprehend such a 
concept as the League of Nations. 
With our joyous facility at getting 
the cart before the horse, most of 
us looked upon the League as im- 
practically idealistic. What was 
wildly impractical of course was 
the idealistic assumption that in the 
crowded world of the doth century 
the nations could live happily and 
safely together without any pro¬ 
vision for the restraint of one that 
might go mad. 

To this day an astonishing num¬ 
ber of Americans are incredulous 
when they are reminded that the 
Covenant of the league of Nations 
included machinery for the rectifi¬ 
cation of any errors that might be 
discovered in the Treaty of Ver¬ 
sailles. Under that Covenant Ger¬ 
many might have attained, through 
processes resembling a suit at law 
rather than war, the correction of 
whatever impositions she could 
prove to be plainly unjust. 

But the power to operate judi¬ 
cial machinery is only to a small ex¬ 
tent police power. Mainly, it is the 
mor.iJ power possessed by a disin¬ 
terested judge, and the only nation 
possessed of that power was the 
United States, which rejected the 
League. From that moment of re¬ 
jection the League, with its ma¬ 
chinery for correcting the mistakes 
of Versailles, never had a chance. 

The American people rejected 
the League because, intoxicated 
with wealth and success, they cher- 



THE GHOST OF WOODROW WILSON 


1941 

ished the dangerous illusion that 
their own unaided strength would 
ever remain sufficient for their 
needs. Blandly and blindly they 
assumed that Europe would al¬ 
ways need American strength, but 
that the time would never come 
when America would need Euro¬ 
pean strength. They clung to this 
belief for 20 years, clung to it until 
a tremendous tyranny seerhed on 
the point of wiping out the last 
strongholds of free government in 
Europe, thrusting us suddenly 
into a form of isolation that wc had 
never contemplated and most em¬ 
phatically did not want. 

If the American people could n6t 
believe 20 years ago in the neces¬ 
sity of arranging for the protection 
of the peace and security of all 
nations by some form t>f agreement 
backed by sufficient force to make 
it binding, why could they not be¬ 
lieve? The only possible answer is, 
because their experience for more 
than a hundred years had been 
that of tranquillity undisturbed by 
any really serious threat from 
without. And when at last war 
came in 1917, they performed 
prodigies in transporting to E>ance 
a gigantic army, which swept to 
easy victory. So America was still 
the ever victorious. 

What irony can surpass the im¬ 
plication that prosperity, security 
and happiness led America to reject 
the only feasible plan to insure the 
permanence of her prosperity, se¬ 
curity and happiness? 


S3 

Of course no one knows that the 
League with America's participa¬ 
tion would have been successful. 
But we do know that it was the 
only plan offered and that, without 
any plan, our security is, within 24 
years, in more deadly peril than in 
1917. It is hard to imagine any cir¬ 
cumstances under which participa¬ 
tion in the League of Nations 
scheme could have brought us to a 
worse pass than that to which non¬ 
participation brought us by 1941. 

We failed to understand when 
Wilson said, “The day has come 
when America is privileged to 
spend her blood and might for the 
principles that gave her birth and 
happiness and the peace which she 
has treasured.” Most of us then 
favored spending our blood and 
our might only to assure our own 
safety; have we progressed beyond 
that point in 24 years? 

The question is an embarrassing 
one, but it is of far greater conse¬ 
quence than any terms of war or 
any terms of peace. Have we real¬ 
ized yet that our own safety is in¬ 
dissolubly linked with the safety 
of all free peoples, and that ours 
cannot be assured without assuring 
that of others? One greater than 
Wilson said, long before 1917, 
“None of us liveth to himself, and 
no man dieth to himself.” It be¬ 
comes ever more plain that in the 
crowded modern world this is as 
true of nations as it is of individuals. 

In the conflict ahead Hitler 
could face no more appalling ap- 



THE reader's digest 


84 

parition than the ghost of Wood- 
row Wilson with America united 
behind him as it was united in 1917. 
For with the protagonists of hatred, 
intrigue and violence Hitler can al¬ 
ways find a way to live comfortably; 


but a nation determined to secure 
“not a balance of ppwer, but a 
community of power; not organized 
rivalries, but an organized com¬ 
mon peace” is his implacable, 
mortal enemy. 


Beale Street Blue Law 

c^ules posted in a Negro rooming house on Beale Street {of the 
'^Beale Street Blues'')^ Memphis, Tennessee: 


THE LOBBY is strictly a sitting room. No 
lying down on the davenport. No two or more persons allowed 
to sit in one chair at the same time or on the center table. No 
drunk person is allowed in the lobby. Take them to your 
room. No kissing, hugging or loving of any kind allowed in the 
lobby. Cto to your rtwm for that. No receiving stolen goods or 
anything of that kind. This may seem funny but it is good 
business. So please read this sign and understand it good before 
you rent a room here. All roomers arc responsible for the dis¬ 
orderly conduct of their visiting friends. 

NO ONE IS ALLOWED in the kitchen 
except the ones that are cooking. Every person who comes to 
cook must bring some wood and as soon as they put a cooking 
vessel on the stove must put some wood in the stove and that 
will make cooking lovely. Remember that the kitchen is for 
cooking and eating. No washing. No hair straightening, no 
hair cutting and shaving. 

NO LOUD NOISE or going to and fro in 
the hall .singing, dancing or popping the fingers at any time 
day or night. So please don’t be frightened after you read this 
sign for it is mighty fine to live in a nice, quiet place while so 
many people are living among robbers and murderers and all 
kinds of evil-hearted people who are walking in the darkness 
of life and do not care for the better things of life. We do not 
want their money but all good people are as welcome as the 
wind that blows. 



Nevada's residence law, intended to make voters out 
of itinerant prospectors, proves a latter-day bonanza 



Max Miller 

Onetime newspaper reporter; author of the best seller, “I Cover the Waterfront.” 


R eno, to most Americans syn- Gambling is a broad term in Ne- 
onymous with Sin, lies wide vada, however. Each season in this 

- open, brazen under tourist dry land is a gamble with cattle 
eyes. And few tourists look far raising, with sheep. Certainly min- 
enough beyond the gambling houses, ing is a gamble. Not to gamble in 
the night spots, the divorcees, to Nevada would mean not to be 
realize that Reno is more than this, working for a living. 

Reno is the mouthpiece, the trad- To understand Reno you must 
ing post for Nevada’s population; look at Nevada’s past. And the past 
the scattered sheep ranchers, cat- is still there to be seen, a story in 
tlemen, prospectors and miners, to each abandoned glory-hole on a 
whom Reno’s divorcees and tour- hillside, a parable in every old des¬ 
ists are passing entertainment. ert cemetery. Nearby Virginia City 
Nevada is a wilderness state was the leading city of the Bonanza, 
which, though sixth largest in the when the Comstock Ijode supported 
Union, does not contain enough a population of 70,000 and yielded 
citizens to fill the Pasadena Rose $180,000,000 in the one year of 
Bowl. The desert on three sides, the 1873. The statistics make one as 
High Sierra on the west have been dizzy as the shell of ground sup- 
the ancient taskmasters, and Ne- porting the city. More bits of it 
vada’s laws are founded on the cave in each year, for beneath it 
theory that each man should be stretch the 6^ miles of tunnels 
capable of looking out for himself, which formed that underground 
If he wants to gamble the preroga- world from which over 20 million 
tive is his. But he must not hang tons of ore were taken by men who 
around whining if he loses, npr ask seldom lived to reach the age of 34; 
the state for a free living afterward, men who worked drenched by the 

Copyright ig4i^ and ptMisbgd at tS ^ Dodd^ Mead & C9., /nr., 

4^ Fourth Aoe.t N. T, C. Ss 



86 


THE reader's digest 


August 


hot sulphuric fumes of a river a 
thousand feet beneath the surface. 
These same sulphuric hot springs 
are today being turned into pretty 
little resorts with private cabins 
and swimming pools for two, no 
questions asked, no registration 
necessary. No wonder an old-timer 
I met out there said he was going to 
stop killing rattlesnakes. “Hell,” 
he said, “this country’s getting too 
damned soft already.” 

Old Piper’s Opera House, once 
the money spot of the world for 
actors and actresses, still stands. 
The drop curtain hangs part way 
down almost as if it had become 
stuck, delaying the expected ap¬ 
pearance of Jenny Lind or of the 
Great Patti. On it we read where to 
go for fashionable bustles and the 
latest imports in gentlemen’s beaver 
hats. The moving shadows become 
figures. . . . “And in addition, la¬ 
dies and gentlemen of the Com¬ 
stock, next week we will present a 
bull and bear fight. And the week 
after that Henry Ward Beecher, to 
be followed by none other than 
Montgomery Queen’s Great Show 
with the only, positively the only 
Female Somersault Rider in the 
World.” 

In those days Julia Bulette was 
queen of Virginia City’s line, which 
boasted hundreds of professional 
girls. Julia was officially adopted by 
the Virginia City Volunteer Engine 
Company Number One, and given 
her own badge and elaborate fire¬ 
fighting costume. This meant con¬ 


siderable distinction, as member¬ 
ship in Company Number One was 
tops in Comstock society. Riding 
her polished phaeton behind white 
horses, Julia was in all the parades. 
Wearing her splendid uniform, she 
was at all the fires. 

Then Julia was murdered. The 
Engine Company turned out in full 
regalia for the funeral, and almost 
every male in town publicly ex¬ 
pressed his sadness. But when 
Julia’s murderer was imprisoned, 
the housewiv,es had their turn. They 
brought him flowers, rare in Vir¬ 
ginia City, and candy and poetry, 
acclaiming him as a crusader against 
vice. They lined the balconies and 
streets four deep for his drive to the 
gallows. And he played his part 
nobly, even to the farewell address 
of thanks for all they had done for 
him: he hoped they would remem¬ 
ber him always — and they hav^e. 

Even so, the men of the Com¬ 
stock had the last word. The famed 
Julia mine was named for Julia 
Bulette when it was proved to be 
the hottest on the Comstock. 

It was Nevada’s Comstock days 
that set in motion the laws which 
changed Reno from a toll bridge^ 
across the Truckee to what it is 
today. So constant was the turn¬ 
over among the miners that, in 
order to have someone in the state 
qualified to vote, they decided that 
a stay of six months established 
legal residence. A New York lawyer 
saw the advantage for divorce cli¬ 
ents, and from the first notorious 




ig 4 r RENO: HONKY-TONK AND TRADING POST 87 

case in 1905 the world has associ- tied in with big eastern firms, have 
ated Reno with only one purpose, more than 90 percent of the entire 
In Reno itself this One Thing is trade. The average fee is $250, but 
avoided in conversation as being clients are charged in proportion to 
the sure sign of a rank newcomer, their wealth. TTiis can be thousands 
The regular citi2ens would like to — or only $25 for some poor woman 
believe they are not dependent on with youngsters who asks no ali- 
that One Tiling. But back in 1913 mony. She must be authentically 
the housewives organized a moral poor, however, and smart enough 
crusade and carried a law requiring to go to the most expensive-looking 
a 12 months* term of residence for offices in town rather than to the 
divorce seekers. Almost immedi- shyster who offers a ^50 special and 
ately Reno started to fade. then tries to hold her up 

Store clerks lost their » I on the last day for an 

jobs. Hotels became ^ i additional couple of 

vacant. It was two ^ hundred, 

dreary years be- ^ Reno 

fore the legislature lawyer is a father 

could convene and fIi! T •' confessor. He is 

change back the astonished by noth- 

law; and while Reno fjj^g knows that 

pretends to forget, the when a man approaches 

phrase “ he*s one of those guys who his dangerous years he may sud- 
vofed for the 12 months* law** has denly become fearful that, while 
been sufficient ever since to damn concentrating on making money, 
any political aspirant. Gradually, he has lc»t out on romance. The 
the residential requirements have man meets up with some little spe- 
been cut until today they are the cialist who knows all the tricks of 
well-known six weeks. making him feel that — until he 

Other states tried to steal the met her — his talents as a lover 
divorce trade — but Reno had 20 have gone unappreciated. And be- 
years* start, and its judges are cause of her the wife one day is told 
“educated.** A New York lawyer that she has no warmth, and that 
can long-distance a reputable law- rather than wait until the coolness 
yer in Reno and ask outright, after between them turns to downright 
stating the case, if the divorce will hate she had better go right out to 
be granted, and the Reno lawyer Reno“sothat we still can befriends 
can answer immediately yes or no. at least.*' The expense account is 
He knows exactly how the Reno fiimi^ed, and the wife, for the 
judges will react. sake of her own pride, must do the 

The 10 ddest law firms in Reno, rest. 




88 


THE READER S DIGEST 


August 


For it is a fact that nine out of 
ten women who come to Reno do 
not want what they are sent to get. 
This is why so many of these cast¬ 
off wives make such helpless fools 
of themselves with the first stranger. 
Given a few drinks, they set right 
out to prove to themselves that 
they still have warmth. And this is 
also why so many of them vow 
never again to marry a “success¬ 
ful” man — why so many of them 
marry cowboys and rodeo riders 
and miners and trappers. 

Many clients come to town so 
crazed, so bitter, so convinced that 
all the woes of time have combined 
to make them individual targets, 
that their first impulse is to hunt 
forgetfulness in the feverish life of 
the bars and cafes. This results in a 
six-week wild fling of revenge — 
which one divorcee culminated by 
sending her husband, with the de¬ 
cree, a farewell gift of silk under¬ 
wear, with two black widow spiders 
concealed in the folds. The lawyer 
will try to help his client avoid such 
extremes by settling her in a com¬ 
fortable “dude ranch” — which, in 
Reno, is really an old-fashioned 
boardinghouse lo or 15 minutes 
from town, run by a woman who 
will serve as court witness to prove 
residence. She is generally someone 
who has gone through the works 
herself, who knows when to be sym¬ 
pathetic, when to be hard, and 
when the turbulent mind should be 
kept occupied with horseback trips 
to Viiiginia City or Pyramid Lake. 


The wilderness which lies just 
outside town in any direction is one 
reason why Reno has remained for 
so long the clinic it is for disturbed 
souls. Always in the background 
like a great drop curtain is the High 
Sierra, peak after peak with pock¬ 
ets of snow, with brazen boulders. 
Pyramid Lake is 45 miles of blue, 
green and obsidian black silence in 
the middle of the desert. The bitter 
woman .sees upon the canyon walls 
the strata upon strata of rock for¬ 
mations which were there before 
man — her man or anybody elsc’s 
— came on earth. She is brought 
face up to the fact that there still 
would be an earth whether man 
was on it or not. For a moment 
even “that woman he*s with now” 
back home may seem but a retro¬ 
spective mote and not the entire 
cosmos. The space is medicine. It is 
the reason why so many divorcees, 
after their third or fourth week, so 
frequently wire for the husbands to 
come “just to see what it’s like.” 
And the husbands frequently do 
come. 

So all day the divorcees, and the 
tourists, look at Nevada’s past. 
And all night, at her present — the 
blur of constant excitement that 
constitutes the gambling district 
and the night joints, the grotesque 
red front of The Inferno, designed 
to portray the leaping flames of 
hell; The Club Fortune with its 
golden nude outside; Colbrandt’s 
with its host of golden nudes inside. 
The bars comprise the clearing- 



tgp RENO: HONKY-TONK AND TRADING POST 8 q 


house, the places where of an eve¬ 
ning dude ranchers meet each other, 
and meet all the other worlds that 
go to make up this crossroads town. 
There are the fortune-hunting 
wolves of both sexes who help swell 
Reno's quick-marriage trade. There 
is the Reno of the sheepmen, the 
three-to-five thousand Basque herds¬ 
men who have their own dynasties 
and their own great grazing ranches. 
There is the cattleman’s Reno, 
where the legitimate cowhands 
learn who is about to have some 
cattle driven where. There is al¬ 
ways the definite undercurrent of 
mining and prospecting, the cen¬ 
tury-old Nevada theme song. AjJ 
these orbits intertwine in the bars, 
with a live-and-let-li ve understand¬ 
ing resembling the truce among 
jungle animals at a water hole. The 
hat is snatched from the head of a 
quiet cattle rancher to dress the an¬ 
tics of a drunken dancer who has, a 
half hour before, scraped acquaint¬ 
ance with and married his giggling 
bride. The rancher gravely drinks 
to their happiness. A commotion, 
and you look up to see a woman rid¬ 
ing a cow through the door. Her 
escort leads the cow up to the slot 
machines. They demand and get 
drinks on the house. No one pays 
them the slightest attention. The 
next day you read one of those na¬ 
tional wire stories under a Reno date 
line about “Divorc6e Rides Cow 


into Reno Night Club.” So Reno 
is in print again. 

For Reno lives on getting talked 
about. It is Reno’s reputation that 
packs the cars into the city’s park¬ 
ing spaces, their license plates call¬ 
ing the roll of the Union. No tourist 
must ever say, “Reno was dead 
when I was there.” Wild activity 
reigns supreme for 24 hours a day 
around the wheels, around the 
dice, even though in out-of-season 
months the players may all be 
“shills” employed by the house. 
Reno is brazen. Ask the way to 
Reno’s licensed Stockade, where 
the descendants of Julia Bulette’s 
girls carry on, and directions are 
given with a yawn. It’s the same 
spirit that lets a man make up his 
own mind whether or not he feels 
lucky with cattle or mines or faro 
— only if he loses he must not run 
around crying about it. The same 
spirit that lets a man use his own 
speed judgment on the open high¬ 
ways, and where warning signs are 
worded: “Advise 45 miles around 
next turn.” And it helps get Reno 
talked about. 

Put them all together — the past 
alongside the present, the divorcees, 
the ranchers, the miners, the gam¬ 
bling casinos, the tourists, the great 
healing desert space — and maybe 
they are Reno. And maybe Reno 
really ix “The Biggest Little City 
in the World.” 



d Wherein does the German worker differ from the slave? 


Labor Under the Swastika 

i 

Condensed from The American Mercury 
Ludwig Hamburger 

Who once was a mechanic in a German factory; authority on labor legislation, 
member of the staff of The Brookings Institution 


I N THE Middle Ages the serf was 
a part of his master’s estate. 
Translating the language of 
feudal law, he was ** fixed on the 
estate,” which he could not leave. 
Substitute job for estate and you 
have the condition of the German 
worker today. 

The situation began in 1934. 
Construction of new highways, fly¬ 
ing fields and factories attracted 
farm hands, resulting in a shortage 
of farm labor. To counteract this, 
the government decreed that it was 
illegal for farm workers to take non- 
agricultural jobs. As rearmament 
speeded up and labor became 
scarce, other large groups were pro¬ 
hibited from changing employment. 
Finally, at the beginning of the war, 
every German worker, whether in 
business, industry, or the house¬ 
hold, was tied to his job. Only em¬ 
ployment authorities had the right 
to set him free. 

The serf enjoyed many advan¬ 
tages the German does not. If un¬ 
der feudal law he had no right to 
move, his lord had no right to drive 
him from the estate. Nazi feudal¬ 
ism disregards this essential feature 
of the older system. 


In 1937 tens of thousands of 
young clerks were shifted from office 
work into manual labor on farms, 
roads and buildings. In 1938 a gen¬ 
eral labor conscription law empow¬ 
ered employment* authorities to 
draft all men and women not hold¬ 
ing paid jobs and further to call 
regular employes from their posi¬ 
tions and assign them to whatever 
work, locality and employer the 
government deemed necessary. Hun¬ 
dreds of thousands have thus been 
moved from one job to another. 
The worker may not quit, nor may 
the employer fire him, without per¬ 
mission from the state. But the gov¬ 
ernment can discharge the worker 
at any time without the employer’s 
consent, and can send him wher¬ 
ever it likes. 

The Nazis first compelled itiner¬ 
ant salesmen to work on farms and 
in factories. Later, in 1938 and 
1939, they picked upon the shops 
of artisans and skilled craftsmen. 
A plan was announced to close some 
500,000 shops, forcing the owners 
“to join the rank and file of the in¬ 
dustrial working class.” Thousands 
of retail tradesmen have been 
treated in the same way. Thus, by 


Copyright *941 ^ The Avuriton Mercury^ Inc.^ 570 Lexington Aoe-t N, 7 *. C. 
go {The American Mercury^ June^ '41) 



LABOR UNDER THE SWASTIKA 


9 ^ 


decree, an entire economic group 
becomes the property of the state. 

Every aspect of the German 
worker's life is regimented. His pay 
is fixed by schedule. Merely asking 
for a wage beyond schedule entails 
drastic punishment. Long working 
hours are fixed under statute. Vaca¬ 
tions, membership in organizations 
and recreation are controlled. And 
a worker quitting his job without 
authority can be forced to return — 
the modern equivalent of the right 
to reclaim a fugitive slave. 

The German worker is, indeed, 
in the position of a slave except 
that he does not belong to a private 
master. His nominal employer is' 
merely the modern equivalent of an 
overseer. 

In ancient times the master had 
the right to kill his slave. Under 
Nazi rule the worker carries a labor 
passport recording all the details of 
his training, abilities, and voca¬ 
tional career. To employ a man 
who has no such work book is il¬ 
legal. Thus employment authorities, 
by withdrawing a worker’s book, 
can at any time condemn him to 
starvation. 

Under state ownership the slave 
is worse oflF than when privately 
owned. In ancient Greece and Rome 
the principal sources of slaves were 
foreign conquest and purchase 
abroad. They never turned their 
own citizens into workers against 
their will. The Nazis, too, have 
used their conquests to supply labor 
by shipping Czechs, Danes, Poles, 


Dutchmen and other foreign work¬ 
ers into Germany by tens of 
thousands. But in addition, every 
class in the home population is sut^ 
jcct to labor conscription. Thus the 
Nazis have opened a vast new 
source of slaves, far beyond any¬ 
thing sanctioned in the past. 

Compulsory juvenile labor is an¬ 
other blessing of Hitler’s “wave of 
the future.’’ In March 1938, German 
parents were ordered to report to 
employment offices the names of 
all children leaving primary and 
secondary schools. School adminis¬ 
trations were made agents of the 
employment authorities, who mo¬ 
bilized practically the entire youth 
of the country and directed it into 
the trades and industries which 
most needed the young. The vast 
majority of these children were 
only 14 years old. Under conditions 
of private ownership only slaves 
bear slaves; under the Nazi system 
every woman is a potential bearer 
of slaves. 

In every slave-owning society of 
the past, the slave could be liber¬ 
ated by his master and frequently 
was. The German worker, having 
no private master, has no private 
benefactor. He faces only the state. 
Nor can he buy his freedom. In 
ancient civilization the slave might, 
within certain limits, engage in 
business, acquire property and then 
buy himself from his master. For 
the German workingman to engage 
in business is practically impossible. 
Everything necessary to start — 



92 


THE READER'S DIGEST 


capital, credit, raw materials, equips 
ment — is controlled by the Nazi 
state. 

Some 20,000,000 men and women 
workers have undergone regimen¬ 
tation, the like of which, in scope 
and intensity, humanity has never 


seen. Nationalized, depersonalized, 
the workers have become»like ants, 
the inescapably controlled cells of 
a collective body — with living 
standards far below those of 1925 
to 1929, years of German prosper¬ 
ity and workers* freedom. 

, .-r* 


The Rescue of the Books 

« 

Excerpt from The Saturday Review of Literature 
Karl Detzer 


D eep down in an abandoned Welsh 
coal mine a librarian is working; 
the strangest place for a librarian, and 
his task, too, a strange one. On rough 
shelves lining the mine’s long gallery 
are several million dollars’ worth of the 
world’s rarest books and manuscripts 
evacuated from the British Museum. 
The man photographs them page by 
page, on microfilm, and sends each 
finished roll to America. 

Photographs of 1,000,000 pages have 
already crossed the Atlantic safely; not 
a foot of film has been lost. The nega¬ 
tives are stored in a small brick building 
near the University of Michigan at 
Ann Arbor. Prints from them have 
been sent to more than a dozen libra¬ 
ries which have reading machines that 
enlarge the films to original size. 

Thus fiu- every book in the British 
Museum printed before 1550 has found 
sanctuary in America, meticulously re- 
produeed in miniature. With them have 
•come thousands ci rare items from other 
'fiunous British collections. Five thou¬ 


sand pages from the Guildhall Library 
arriv^ a few days before that museum 
was smashed by Nazi bombs. 

The man chiefly responsible for all 
this is Eugene B. Power, a young Ann 
Arbor photo-publisher. For several 
years he had been “printing” on micro¬ 
film the typewritten dissertations of 
neophyte Ph.D.’s. As the threat of war 
and destruction loomed over Europe, 
he evolved the project of photograph¬ 
ing rare works in European libraries. 
Sponsored by the Library' of Congress 
and the American Council of Learned 
Societies, and with grants first from the 
Carnegie Foundation and later from the 
Rockefeller Foundation, Power went 
to Europe in 1936 with a staff of schol¬ 
ars and technicians. 

War stopped his work on the Conti¬ 
nent, but thanks to him six American 
cameras are working in the British Isles, 
striving against time and blitzkrieg and 
barbarism to rescue the written and 
printed evidence of what we know as 
culture. 



A quiz based on a unique radio program 


... ■- 


1 // 


HOW MANY CAN YOU ANSWER ? 


Compiled by Bruce Chapman 

S INCE Albert Mitchell went on the air four years ago with the 
offer to answer any question on any topic — if it has an an- 
* swer — half a million listeners have asked him questions. 
Queries come to him at the rate of 4000 a week; his twice-a-week 
program, “The Answer Man,” has an audience of a,ooo,ocx>. 

Mitchell was an orchestra conductor who, for 20 years, had made 
a hobby of reading dictionaries, almanacs, encyclopedias. So many 
people asked him for information that be.determined to make a pro¬ 
fession of his hobby. He uses a large reference library, an index of 
several thousand authorities, and a card file of the 20,000 commonest 
questions — most of which 1^ can answer out of his head. 

Here are 20 of the questions most frequently asked. For the 
Answer Man’s answers, m.page 123. 

1. Will hot water freeze faster barn when the barn is on fire? 

than cold water ? 11. Which can run faster — a horse 

2. If you’re out in the rain for or a man? 
five minutes, will you get wet- 12 . Why do we call a quarter two 
ter walking or running? 

3 . Is a tomato a fruit or a veg- 13 * Why does “love” mean “noth- 
etable ? ing” in tennis ? 

4 . Why do people say “God Bless 14 . Why does fear cause a per- 
You” when a friend sneezes? son’s face to turn pale? 

5 . When does a young man come 15 . Why do the English drive to 
of age? the left? 

6. Was Theodore Roosevelt blind 16 . What makes popcorn pop? 

in one eye? | 7 . How often do twins occur? 

7 . Why is a left-handed peirSoti 18 . How does a fly stick upside 
called a “southpaw?” - * down on the ceiling? 

8. Can a portion of a dolla^^vbtU 19 . Why are three balls hung out 
be redeemed? ' - ' in front of a pawnshop? 

9 . What is the le^ birthday of 20. Why can a bird stand on an 
persons born on Februal'y 29? electric power line without be< 

10. Why does a horse run into the . ing electrocuted? 



New crops and healthier cattle promise 
a new dawn of prosperity to the South 


A Revolution in Southern Agriculture 

Condensed from Country Life 
J. Sidney Cates 


AN AMAZING series of agricul- 
tural discoveries — all made 
JLjjL during the past decade — 
promises to transform the South. In 
each of agriculture’s three main di¬ 
visions — soils, crops and livestock 
— the South has been handicapped 
by natural lacks and difficulties. If 
its people have not been prosperous 
it was largely because land and 
climate put so many discouraging 
obstacles in their path. These 
obstacles have now been conquered. 

Cattle have never done very 
well in the hotter, more humid 
parts of the South. One important 
reason for this has only recently 
been discovered: our cattle, of 
species imported from Europe, are 


J. Sidney Cates has spent most of his 
life demonstrating by de^ and word the 
value of research to agriculture. Born and 
raised on a North Carolina farm, he studied 
science at the state college and at Cornell 
and in 1905 went into the U. S. Department 
of Agriculture to do research work. By 
1912 he was in charge of weed and tillage 
investigation and had made notable discov¬ 
eries for the control of weeds. He then 
edited Southern Planter for three years, re¬ 
turning to the Department in the Office of 
Farm Management. Since 1919 Mr. Cates 
has been a staff writer for Country Gentleman, 


ill-equipped to stand long, hot, 
damp summers. Under heat and 
humidity their blood count drops 
very low. They do not sweat, and 
can cool themselves only by radia¬ 
tion and rapid breathing. This lim¬ 
ited cooling process is insufficient 
for the southern climate, and so 
during hot weather the animals be¬ 
come listless and debilitated. 

But along with this discovery 
came the hopeful finding that cattle 
from India, of a species known as 
the Brahma, have a cooling system 
which enables them to thrive in the 
hottest, most humid climate. 

In studies at the U. S. govern¬ 
ment station at Jeanerette, La., 
during the hottest summer periods 
Brahma cattle showed no appreci¬ 
able rise in either temperature or 
breathing rate, and displayed dis¬ 
dain of heat by standing con¬ 
tentedly in the broiling sun to chew 
their cuds, though shade was a 
short distance away. First crosses 
of the Brahma with our beef breeds 
showed the same disregard of hot 
weather, and as three-year-olds 
they weighed about 300 pounds 
more than their ordinary beef breed 
half-brothers. 


Copyright 194I1 Polo Magaunet Ine.^ tiyo Sixth Ave.f N. T. C. 
(Country Life^ Jufyt '41) 


94 





A REVOLUTION IN SOUTHERN AGRICULTURE 


Leading cattlemen are taking ad¬ 
vantage of this discovery. The great 
King Ranch in south Texas, which 
is rapidly being stocked with 
Brahma hybrids, reports that the 
new animals weigh much more, 
that the calf crop is up nearly 50 
percent, and that runts and culls 
which used to constitute 25 percent 
of each year*s increase are unknown. 

Brahma bulls now command a 
price four or five times that of ordi¬ 
nary beef breeds. But thanks to 
the newly developed technique of 
artificial insemination, one male 
can take care of several thousand 
breeding cows, thus cutting sire 
cost to a negligible figure. 

Cattle did not flourish in the 
South for another reason: the 
scourge of ticks and internal para¬ 
sites. Through a colossal eradica¬ 
tion campaign the fever tick was 
practically eliminated several years 
ago. But until recently no progress 
had been made against internal 
parasites. Medicines against these 
vermin proved only feebly effective 
— the animal’s digestive system 
absorbed the dose before it got 
much beyond the stomach. The 
animal might be made sick, but the 
vermin in the lower part of its sys¬ 
tem remained unscathed. 

Recently an entomologist, en¬ 
tirely ignorant of veterinary tradi¬ 
tion, opened the road to an answer. 
In trying to control the blood-suck¬ 
ing horn fly that scourged cattle on 
west Texas ranches, he found that 
the fly reproduced only in its vic- 


P 5 

tims* droppings. Why not feed in¬ 
secticide to the cattle, thereby poi¬ 
soning the droppings so that the fly 
larvae could not develop in them? 
The insecticide used was the new 
sensational synthetic, phenothia- 
zine. Any trained veterinarian 
would have laughed at his experi¬ 
ment. But it worked. In the jour¬ 
ney through the animal, little of 
phenothiazine’s potency was lost; 
the droppings were thoroughly poi¬ 
soned and the horn fly destroyed. 

Veterinary parasitologists took 
up this lead; repeated tests with 
every sort of domestic animal 
showed the new drug to be an un¬ 
dreamed-of panacea for practically 
all the vitality-sapping internal 
pests that have plagued southern 
livestock. 

But even with these barriers re¬ 
moved there can be no expansion of 
the South’s livestock industry with¬ 
out an abundance of cheap feed. 
And cheap feed comes from rich 
lands and healthy crop plants. 
Here again science has made ex¬ 
hilarating discoveries. 

The South was not blessed with 
natural fertility. Southern soils are 
timber soils. Trees do not lavish or¬ 
ganic matter on the earth; forest 
residue forms only a thin top coat. 
These lands have washed terribly, 
because of their texture and be¬ 
cause of open winters and torren¬ 
tial rains. Until recently there were 
no easily cultivated sod crops that 
would bind and build these lands. 

Now the South has a series of 



THE reader’s digest 


August 


po 


new sod crops, natives of Asia and 
the tropics, which grow with vigor, 
stop erosion, yield rich forage, and 
as though by magic build fertility 
into soil so that ordinary field crops 
yield a profit on poor land. One of 
these is an Asiatic plant named 
Lespedeza. 

Last summer, at a big farmers' 
meeting held at the West Tennes¬ 
see Experiment Station at Jackson, 
Dr. C. A. Mooers, head of the state's 
agricultural research, said: “In the 
past, when I have shown a road to 
better farm practice, your reply has 
often been: ‘ I could do that too if I 
had the state and national govern¬ 
ments to pay the bills.' But you can 
offer no such alibi to what I shall 
show you today." 

Then Dr. Mooers led the group 
to an experimental field where 
Lespedeza sericea has been grow¬ 
ing for ten years. It had been 
notably poor land, on which a ton 
of hay per acre was a splendid crop, 
even though heavily limed and fer¬ 
tilized; its normal yield of corn was 
30 bushels. In 1930 the new orien¬ 
tal soil-maker was planted. No fer¬ 
tilizer or lime has been used, and all 
the growth, consisting of either two 
hay crops or a hay crop and seed 
crop, has been removed each year. 
The lespedeza hay crop has varied 
from three to five tons per year. 
For the past seven years a section 
of this field has been put to corn. 
A prospective 80-bushel crop was 
waving in the breeze as Dr. Mooers 
gave his lecture. 


Lespedeza sericea is much like 
alfalfa, save that it grows in care¬ 
free fashion on poor and sour lands. 
It makes excellent hay tonnage on 
leveled-off gullies. In a few years 
these gullies become good land. 
Sericea wrests mineral nutrients 
from soil that does not surrender 
them to ordinary plants. It con¬ 
founds soil chemists by its ability 
to double or treble the yield of 
crops that follow. It is drought-re¬ 
sistant; has seed habits so good 
that every farmer can raise his own. 
Insects and diseases do not bother 
it, and it can wrest more nitrogen 
from the air than any other poor- 
land forage crop. 

Other foreign legumes are doing 
a herculean job in fattening south¬ 
ern soil. Crotalaria has been coaxed 
up from the tropics to become a be¬ 
loved benevolent weed. I have seen 
it make a growth of 30 tons green 
weight on almost pure sand in the 
lower South. 

A Japanese bean vine, kudzu, 
long grown merely as a porch Vine, 
is another recent sensational addi¬ 
tion to southern agriculture. Kudzu 
has a deep perennial root system, 
and sends out a heavy growth that 
will clamber 40 feet in a year. Noth¬ 
ing equals it for gully stopping. Its 
growth of forage, head high each 
year, is a delicacy for grazing ani¬ 
mals. And since the invention of an 
ingenious mower attachment which 
cuts each swath free from the mass 
of tangled vines and makes raking 
and loading possible, kudzu is com- 



A REVOLUTION IN SOUTHERN AGRICULTURE 


97 


1941 


ing into extensive use as a hay crop. 

Even these new developments 
would mean little to southern agri¬ 
culture but for one last link in the 
chain: an adequate supply of carbo¬ 
hydrate feed — cereal grains, or 
something to take their place. Ap¬ 
parently we now have an answer to 
this problem also. Large-scale gov¬ 
ernment experiments testify to 
possibilities of the sweet potato as a 
carbohydrate feed crop. Of even 
greater practical value to the 
southern farm is the new magic in 
small-grain breeding. Wheat, oats, 
and barley have always been par¬ 
ticularly subject to rusts and mil¬ 
dews in the South. Now plant 
breeders have learned how to con¬ 


quer these pests and new rust-free 
small-grain varieties are coming 
into everyday use. 

During the past five years re¬ 
search appropriations for southern 
states have more than doubled. 
Trained scientists are at work fol¬ 
lowing through the new leads. They 
are developing varieties of vege¬ 
tables and small fruit which are 
immune to old besetting diseases 
and of a quality heretofore un¬ 
known in the South. 

With a cheap and easy way to 
make poor land into rich land, and 
with the barriers to plant and ani¬ 
mal health broken down, southern 
agriculture sees on the horizon a 
new dawn. 


The Eternal Masculine 

I^LFRED Lunt and Lynn Fontanne 
made one movie wliile I was in Hollywood. When they were asked to 
sec the rushes (uncut scenes in the picture) Lynn saw them alone and 
was horrified. She rushed home to her husband. 

“Well?” said Alfred. 

“I was awful,” said Lynn wildly, “terrible, unbelievable, I can’t go 
on with it.” 

“How was I?” asked her husband. 

“Oh, charming, dear, perfectly wonderful, as you always are. 
You’ll have to do a little something about your makeup, because you 
look as though you didn’t have any lips. But Alfred, I can’t go on 
with this. My voice sounds impossible and I haven’t any eyes, and my 
face is entirely expressionless and I don’t seem to know what to do 
with my hands and feet.” 

I'here was a long pause. 

“Alfred,’* said Lynn, “I tell you I can’t go on. What’ll I do?” 

“No lips, eh?” said Alfred. 

— Bayard Veillcr, The Fun I’ve Jtad (Reynal & Hitchcock) 



d A portfolio of unique real life detective stories 


Feats of Cleveland's Scientific Deteftive 

Condensed from The American Legion Magazine 


Jo Chamberlin 


POLICE of Cleveland ar- 
I rested a laborer who, they 
JL believed, had beaten his wife 
to death. There were no witnesses, 
they had no confession. David 
Cowles, head of the police depart¬ 
ment’s scientific crime detection 
laboratory, questioned the man, 
found that he was of low intelli¬ 
gence, then told him: 

“Tf you killed your wife the 
blood is still on your hands. You 
can’t wash it oflF.” 

On the man’s palm he poured an 
alkali solution. I'hen he added an 
alkali indicator, which turned the 


solution the vivid red of human 
blood. The man confessed. 

Sometimes by psychological strat¬ 
egy such as this, sometimes thanks 
to his sound scientific knowledge 
and painstaking use of laboratory 
detection metholds. Inspector Cowles 
has in the past 15 years dramati¬ 
cally solved hundreds of strange 
mysteries. A former city chemist, 
now heading 24 men in Cleveland’s 
crime detection laboratory, he has 
attracted national attention. Here 
are six of his unique cases that rep¬ 
resent true detective stories as in¬ 
genious as fiction. 


The Ji^oman Ti^ho Died T\ 


wice 


A POLICE OFFICER, investigating a 
shooting, was met at the door by 
a strangely calm man. He led the police¬ 
man to a bctlroom and unlocked the 
door, explaining that he had locked it 
so that nothing would be disturbed. 

The man’s wife lay across a bed, 
fully clothed, shot through the heart. 
Her right arm was outfiung as though 
in greeting. 

“Where's the pistol.^” asked the 
officer. 

“I didn’t .see any.” 

To the officer things looked peculiar. 
All the windows were shut. No one had 
been seen to leave the house. NeighIxars 


said the couple had quarreled. So the 
husband was charged with murder. 

When Cowles arrived he examined 
the bedroom. In it were a bed, a dresser, 
a small trunk against the wall. Behind 
this trunk, 10 feet from the body, 
Cowles found the missing pistol — with 
two shots fired from it. How had it 
gotten there? 

Cowles was amazed to find that there 
was but one bullet wound though two 
bullets were recovered from the body. 
Things looked dark for the husband. 
People don’t shoot themselves twice 
through the heart, then hide the pistol. 

Cowles noted that the bullets were 


Copyright 1941 y The American Legion^ 75 fF. 48 St., N. T. C. 
{The American Legion Magazine, August, ’4/) 


78 



FEATS OF Cleveland’s scientific detective 


99 


different in shape; one had a blunted 
nose, as if it had struck a retarding ob¬ 
ject. There was a difference, too, in the 
empty shells; the one fired last had 
swelled out abnormally, indicating ex¬ 
ceptional concussion. 

(!^wlcs put these clues together and 
had an idea. I le ran his finger along the 
gun barrel, found an almost impercep¬ 
tible swelling halfway to the muzzle. 
He then placed the nose of the blunted 
bullet against the heel of the other. 
They fitted perfectly, 
rhe case was clear. 

The first bullet, fired long before, 
had lodged in the pistol barrel — an 
imperfect powder charge, perhaps, com¬ 
bined with rust in the barrel. When the 
woman pulled the trigger the second 
bullet forced the first one out, and they 
traveled on their deadly errand as one. 
Meanwhile the obstruction had forced 
back the explosive gases that are re¬ 
leased with every shot, marking the 
shell quccrly and kicking the gun out of 
her hand to its place behind the trunk. 
'^I'he outllung arm indicated this. 

The husband was cleared. It was sui¬ 
cide, not murder. 

Clothes Trap the JMan 

NE Saturday night an office-building 
watchman felt a gun at his back. 
Unseen assailants bound his hands, 
gagged and blindfolded him. Then the 
gang blew the safes of wholesale jewelry 
firms in the building, stealing diamonds, 
emeralds, rubies, and gold. 

When Cowles arrived the next morn¬ 
ing he took samples of shattered fire- 
insulation material and teakwood inte¬ 
riors from the blown safes. A plaster 
cast was made of a clear shoeprint found 
on an adjoining rooftop where a window 
had been forc^. 


Weeks later the police were tipped 
off that two men had been spending 
money freely in a West Side cafe. So the 
cops arrested one of them, George 
Cianco, on suspicion, ('owlcs put his 
clothes under the microscope and found 
minute splinters of teakwood in his 
trouser cuffs. He also found dust that 
spectroscopic analysis proved to be of 
the same chemical makeup as the safes’ 
insulation material. 

Through Cianco the police put the 
finger on his night-club pal, Phil Sheri¬ 
dan, sjife-crackcr. A shoe taken from 
him matched the plaster cast footprint 
perfectly. Even though there were no 
eyewitnesses to put him in jail, this 
mute witness did. 

The Case o f the 

Pawned Automatic 

B ecatjse Cowles has persuaded pawn¬ 
brokers to let him examine all guns 
they receive, he has been able to dig up 
many valuable clues. For example, a 
man borrowed money on a .45 auto¬ 
matic. This gun’s serial number had 
been filed off; apparently it w'as 
“hot.” 

However, Cowles knows that when a 
gun’s number is punched at the factory, 
the molecular structure of the steel 
undergoes changes below the surface. 
By grinding and highly polishing the 
metal, and then treating it with an 
etching acid, the number reappears — 
for the acid eats away the softer metal 
faster than it does the metal hammered 
by the die. 

This pawned gun, he found, had 
been stolen from a naval officer whose 
home had been burglarized. The police 
were ready for the burglar when he 
came to redeem it. 




100 


THE reader’s digest 


Blood wai Tell 

i4'YEAR'OLD girl was seized by a 
man one nigiit near her home, and 
attacked in a garage. Some time later she 
was sure she recognized her assailant on 
the street, and pointed him out to her 
father. Her identification was positive. 
I'hc man had a wife and fimily, claimed 
he had never seen the girl before. 

Fortunately, Cowles at the time 
of the crime had examined the girl’s 
clothes, securing minute amounts of 
semen, which lasts for a long time, 
although not visible to the unaided eye. 
Now, semen is classifitxl in four groups 
corresponding exactly to the four ty{)es 
of human blood. For example, a man 
doesn’t have Type A blood and Type B 
semen. Only recently has this vital fact 
been oflicially accepted. 

I'hc tests are of a negative character. 
That is, you cannot prove that a speci¬ 
men of blood or a secretion belongs to a 
given person, but you can often prove 
that it docs not bcloiig to him. In the 
present case, the semen spcciincns con¬ 
nected with the attack and specimens 
of blood from the accused man did not 
match, in the opinion of medical au¬ 
thorities called in. The accused was 
therefore released, despite the protests 
of the girl’s parents. 

Later the real criminal was caught, 
and confessed to this attack and others. 
But for Cowles’ work an innocent man 
might have been disgraced, sent to 
prison, his family broken up. 

The Murder of George Blazie 

GENE, a Cleveland caf^. Time, i a.m., 
the night of January 29, 1940. An 
upstairs tenant heard scuffling below, a 
scream, then silence. He called the 
police. 


August 

George Blazie, bartender, was lying 
on the floor — murdered as he counted 
the night’s receipts. He had been re¬ 
peatedly struck on the head with a 
heavy weapon. On counting the silver 
stacked near the cash register and re¬ 
ferring to slips of paper on wliich he had 
added up the money, the police found 
that only $20 was missing, all of it in 
quarters. Beside the body lay a pipe; 
outside the door was a brown button 
torn from an overcoat. 

Cowles examined the pipe under a 
microscope. The lower side of the stem 
was rough; but the' upper side was 
smooth. He reasoned that the ownei 
had artificial upper teeth, and couldn’t 
bear down on the pipe stem. Detectives 
now narrowed their curiosity to the 
cafe’s customers who had dental plates. 

One such person, Clarence Rost, had 
left town the night of the murder. He 
had false uppers and smoked a pipe. A 
girl friend, establishitig an alibi for Rost, 
said they had gone to the movies thajt 
evening. In fact, she had had to pay for 
the tickets and later refreshments. 
Rost’s mother, that same night, had 
taken a telephone message for him to 
tlie effect tliat a sliare-expense auto trip 
to California was starting early next 
morning. Rost had come home at mid¬ 
night, liad gone out again, and had 
returned at 2 a.m., when he packed his 
clothes and left. Broke early in the eve¬ 
nings he now had funds for a trip to 
California. 

Rost was brought back to Cleveland. 
Cowles showed him faint pin scratches 
on the bowl of the pipe, discernible only 
with microphotqgraphy, that seemed to 
be a capital R and a last letter t. Rost 
admitted that the pipe was his. He had 
gone to the caf§, he said, for a promised 
loan. When Blazie refused, there were 





mr 


FEATS OF CLEVELAND'S SCIENTIFIC DETECTIVE 


101 


words and Blazie had struck him. In 
defending himself Rost liad killed the 
bartender. 

The prosecution, however, had an 
answer. Detectives had located the 
man who’d driven Rost to California. 
He testified that Rost had paid his 
share of traveling expenses, $20, in 
quarters. Exactly the amount stolen! 

Sowing T^ilJ Oats 

iNNiE Burger and her husband, 
paying a Sunday morning visit to 
their hat factory, were greeted by two 
men with pistols, who locked them in a 
small room and made away with $2000 
in hats and raw felt. Cowles and liis 
assistant were surprised to discover in 
cracks of the wooden floor a few grains 


of oats. How had oats gotten into a hat 
factory.? 

The detectives found a man who had 
seen a truck at the factory that Sunday 
morning. Questioning all concerns rent¬ 
ing trucks, they traced those which had 
been used that Sunday, made sweepings 
from the floors of all of them. In one 
mess of sweepings they found oats. From 
the company’s records they got the 
names of two men who had rented that 
truck. Arrested, the men were identi¬ 
fied by the Burgers. Police found much 
of the loot in their possession, also some 
discarded feed bags used to carry off 
the stolen goods. Grains of oats, em¬ 
bedded in the folds and dropping here 
and there, were enough to convict two 
felons. 



I^nonpmtfy 


C/RED Stone and his young daughter, 
lunching with a group at the Algonquin Hotel, fell to discussing the 
anonymity of waiters. R. H. Burnside, the producer, contended that 
only one person in 50 notices the waiter who serves him. 

A well-known painter present maintained that this goes for house¬ 
hold servants too, recalling that early in his career when he and his 
wife were living in very modest circumstances in England, his wife 
was startled in the middle of her morning housework to see a local 
duchess coming up the garden path on her first social call. After a 
moment’s panic at being caught in her dustcap, she opened the door, 
admitted the duchess with a murmured, “Madam will be down 
shortly,” and whipped up the stairs. A few moments later she came 
down in a presentable costume, and the duchess gave no sign of 
ever having seen her before. 

While the painter told the story, a waiter took the dessert order, 
cleared the table. When he arrived with the dessert, Stone’s daughter 
suddenly exclaimed, “Daddy — isn’t that Mr. Burpside.?” 

It was: the producer had waited on his friends 'for ten minutes 
without their recognizing him, — Peggy McEvoy 



^ Starting with one plane, Lowell Yerex has built up 
the largest air-freight transport in the world 


Central Americans Aerial Mules 

Condensed from Forbes 
Desmond Holdridge 


C ows FLY in Central America. 
So do massive mahogany 
logs, two-ton tractors — and 
all manner of freight, because it is 
cheaper to move it by air. Steaming 
jungles and jagged mountain ranges 
have blocked the building of roads 
and railroads; the rivers are unus¬ 
able; travel is by mule, along prim¬ 
itive trails, and then only in the 
dry season. 

The pilot wlio made “air freight¬ 
ers” a familiar sight in Central 
America is l.owell Yerex, a veteran 
of barnstorming in the U. S., who 
later went to Honduras and there 
created opportunity from an ap¬ 
palling combination of climate and 
topography. Starting less than lo 
years ago as half owner of one small 
plane, he proved he could can y 
burdens at one third the cost of 
sending them overland by pack 

During the past lo years Desmond 
Holdridge has made many trips to Larin 
America, including several scientific and ed¬ 
ucation?’ missions, and three notable ex¬ 
plorations of the remote fastnesses of the 
vast continent. On recent trips Mr. Hol¬ 
dridge has traveled largely by plane, and he 
is spending this summer on his place in 
Maryland learning how to farm and how to 
fly. 


train. Today his company, TACA 
— ’Transportes Aereos Centro-Ame- 
ricanos — which has 52 planes and 
makes scheduled flights on 7000 
miles of lines in seven countries, is 
the world’s premier air-freight car¬ 
rier. J .ast year it carried 30,000,000 
pounds of cargo. 

The story of Yerex is so romantic 
that it sounds like something from 
Hollyw'ood. He was even involved 
in a revolution and eloped by air 
v/ith the daughter of a Honduran 
cabinet minister. But for all the 
bizarre incidents of his career, he 
is fundamentally a businessman and 
administrator. 

Born in New Zealand, educated 
in the United States, he was a 
Royal Flying Corps pilot in the last 
war and was shot down behind the 
German lines. I.ater he flew in the 
U. S. for some years and eventually 
took a pilot’s job for a Mexican 
line. 

In Mexico he ran across two 
harum-scarum youngsters who owned 
a Stinson Junior plane’ and wanted 
to hire a pilot. Yerex took the plane 
to Honduras for them, and there, 
where there was a crying need for 
plane service, they began commer- 


Copyright 1941^ B. C. Fortes Put. Co.y Inc., tzo Fifth Aot., N. T, C. 
{Fortes, July is, '41) 


102 



CENTRAL America’s aerial mules 


cial operations. It was, as Ycrex 
says, an airline with “one plane 
and no mechanics, no spare parts, 
or anything else. We induced small 
towns to clear trees for landing 
fields. We took in $3600 the first 
month with that little plane.” Even¬ 
tually Yerex became half owner of 
the plane and sole operator of the 
business. 

Not long after that some insur- 
rectos in a distant jungle began 
marching toward the capital of 
Honduras. The President called on 
Yerex for help in locating them. 
Flying low over the jungle, Yerex 
was fired on; a bullet smashed an 
eyebrow ridge and he went out colH, 
with the plane lurching driinkenly 
toward the jungle. But he recov¬ 
ered consciousness in time to land 
right side up on one of his sketchy 
little airports. 

When President Carias offered 
him a money reward Yerex asked 
instead that he be allowed to carry 
the mail in his plane at the rate 
paid for mule service. The Presi¬ 
dent signed up. 

From the banning Yerex’s plane, 
carrying mail and capacity loads of 
freight, made money. He bought 
out the half interest of the original 
owners. He got new planes, im¬ 
ported pilots from the U. S., bought 
out airlines in neighboring repub¬ 
lics and built up a network that 
covers all Central America from 
Guatemala to Panama. 

At TACA’s main base in Teguci¬ 
galpa, Honduras, every new ship 


103 

purchased for the line is rebuilt. 
Cushioned chairs are ripped out 
and replaced with wooden benches 
— passengers are secondary on this 
line; landing gear is strengthened 
to take the wallop of landing big 
loads on bumpy fields. Huge doors 
are cut to accommodate Diesel en¬ 
gines, lumber, mining machinery 
and tractors. 

TACA*s favorite ship has been 
the old trimotored Ford, and the 
line owns practically every one of 
those ships still in existence. These 
great ships, too slow for the com¬ 
petition they met at home, are for 
that very reason easier to land in 
TACA’s skimpy airports. Their car¬ 
rying capacity and their ability to 
“take it” arc fantastic. All ships 
must measure up to an ironclad 
safety standard. TACA has had 
almost no accidents. 

Yerex’s 30 pilots are good. Every 
day, they sit down in knotholes 
that would whiten the hair of air¬ 
line pilots back in the States. One 
fabulous field consists of two small 
open spaces connected by a bridge; 
the ship starts in one field, tears 
across the bridge to gain speed and 
takes off from the second field. 

Yerex’s birds of burden do an 
amazing variety of jobs. Taking 
mining machinery in and bringing 
gold out is routine. One flying 
tanker carries 600 gallons of Diesel 
fuel from Puerto Cabezas, Nica¬ 
ragua, to L-a Luz mines — 30 min¬ 
utes by air but a long journey by 
trail. Three times a week a TACA 



104 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


plane lands at a ranch, takes on a 
load of freshly slaughtered steers 
which it delivers within an hour to 
refrigerated storehouses on a Stand¬ 
ard Fruit Company banana planta¬ 
tion where fresh meat used to be 
unobtainable. 

TACA is in the merchandising 
business, too — not to make a profit 
on the goods but to promote traffic. 
Through its 700 employes at 235 
airports, it knows the needs of the 
entire region. It learns where there 
is a big corn crop in a remote val¬ 
ley, and where a big construction 
camp needs fodder. It finds markets 
for vegetables, eggs, horses; trans¬ 
ports the products, deducts freight, 
and remits the proceeds to the 
seller. 

Chicle, basic ingredient of chew¬ 
ing gum, used to come out of the 
isolated Peten district of Guate¬ 
mala on miileback. It took weeks. 
Yerex suggested to Wrigley and 
Beechnut that he could get chicle 
out faster, cheaper and in better 
condition. Both agreed to let him 
try it. Building the first landing 
field in the Peten was an epic 
achievement. A crew of tough ma¬ 
chete swingers flew to an island in 
Lake Peten-Itza. Thence they trav¬ 
eled by canoe to the north shore 
and, plunging into the jungle, they 
cut a trail to the ruins of an ancient 
Mayan city. 

A month later, Yerex was able 
to land his own plane on the bumpy 
surface. Three weeks after that, 
there was room to land a big plane 


that brought a tractor, and from 
then on progress was swift. Soon 
the chewing gum express was oper¬ 
ating, and last year it carried out 
2,500,000 pounds of chicle from to 
such jungle air fields. 

Yerex planes, too, are bringing 
a better life to lands that have been 
kept back for centuries by lack of 
transportation. The benefits reach 
from the plantation managers and 
mine superintendents, who last year 
imported 150 meychanical refriger¬ 
ators and similar things they could 
afford but couldn’t get, to the hum¬ 
ble chiclcro^ the zapote tree bleeder 
who used to live isolated in squalid 
camps in the jungle throughout the 
rainy .season. Now that the planes 
bring in medicines, fresh supplies 
and radio sets to end the loneliness, 
the chicleros are beginning to take 
their families to the woods and 
change their camps into homes, 
each with a clearing and spot of 
garden. Thus, thanks to air serv¬ 
ice, civilization spreads. 

After this magnificent pioneer¬ 
ing effort, Yerex recently had the 
disappointment of seeing his chicle¬ 
carrying franchise revoked and given 
to a new company, Aerovtas de 
Guatemala. Nothing daunted, he 
continued to enlarge his operations 
by inaugurating a service between 
Trinidad, Tobago and Barbados. 
The West Indies need air service 
badly, since most of the steamers 
that served the islands have been 
commandeered for war needs. Yerex 
contemplates carrying his service 




CENTRAL AMERICANS AERIAL MULES 


ig4I 

to South America, where the Ger¬ 
man airlines are now collapsing. 
Here he runs into Pan American 
Airways, which considers South 
America its private preserve. He is 


t05 

big enough now to offer real com¬ 
petition to the rich and powerful 
— which is one way of measuring 
how far the old barnstormer has 
come in lo years. 







• C-hey’ve been treating me like one of the family, and I’ve stood it 
as long as I can. — Unde Walter’s Dog House {Sir Walter Raleigh — NBQ 


• Yes, I remember her. She was nonhabil-forming. 

— Bob Hope {PepsotUttU — NBQ 

• He was throwing his money around like a man with no arms. 

— Herb Schreiner {Thtt Is the Shout — NBQ 

• I must learn the new dances like the Conga or go on being a waltz flower. 

— Col. Stoopnaglc (Mennen's — CBS) 

• If it isn’t the sherilf, it’s the finance company. I’ve got more attachments 

on me than a vacuum cleaner. — Jolm Barrymore (.Sealtest — nbq 


• He never knew what happiness was until he got married — and then it 

was too late. — Unclc Walter’s Dog House (Str Walter Raleigh — NBQ 

• 'Fhe sergeant bawled me out for not standing at attention. I had to tell 
him, “I am at attention. It’s my uniform that’s at ease.” 

— Chfif Nazarru {Thu Is the Show - - NBQ 

• “You don’t know the first thing about syntax.” 

“My goodness, is there a tax on that, too?” —{SignalonCarnwai -^nbq 

• Here I am talking about myself when it’s you I want to talk about me. 

— Col. Stoopnaglc {Ontario Show — CBS) 

• They call them dental parlors because they are drawing rooms. 

— Al Pearce {Camel — CBS) 

• He has a beautiful head of skin. — Herb Schrdner {This is the Show — NBQ 

• He bought a suit so expensive that it had only one pair of trousers. 

— Uncle Walter’s Dog House {Sir Walter Raleigh — NBQ 

• “I have to keep in shapes I’m a model and I have to watch my figure.” 
“Forget about your figure. There’s no use both of us watching it ” 

— Eddie Cantor {Ipana — NBQ 



Once There JVas a Squirrel 

-. r -'j • ‘1 * 

.*i # ' - - 


F ifteen years ago, when I was 
a young writer with a very 
uncertain income, I went into 
a quiet park to contemplate a seri¬ 
ous problem. For four years She 
and T had been engaged but didn’t 
dare to marry. There was no way 
of foreseeing how little T might earn 
in the next year; moreover, we had 
long cherished a plan of living and 
writing in Paris, Rome, Vienna, 
London—everywhere. But how 
could we go 3000 miles away from 
everything that was familiar and 
secure, without the certainty of 
some money now and then? It 
couldn’t be done. 

At that moment I looked up and 
saw a squirrel jump from one high 
tree to another. He appeared to be 
aiming for a limb so far out of 
reach that the leap looked like 
suicide. He missed — but landed, 
safe and unconcerned, on a branch 
several feet lower. Then he climbed 
to his goal, and all was well. 

An old man sitting on the bench 
said, “Funny, I’ve seen hundreds 
of ’em jump like that, especially 
when there are dogs around and 
they can’t come to the ground. A 
lot of ’em miss, but I’ve never seen 
any hurt in trying.” Then he 


By Oscar Schisgall 

chuckled. “I guess they’ve got to 
risk it if they don’t want to spend 
their lives in one tree.” 

I thought, “A squirrel takes a 
chance — have I less nerve than 
a squirrel?” 

We were married in two weeks, 
scraped up enough money for our 
passage and sailed across the At¬ 
lantic— jumping off into space, 
not sure what branch we’d land on. 
I began to write twice as fast and 
twice as hard as ever before. And 
to our amazement we promptly 
soared into the realm of Respecta¬ 
ble Incomes. 

Three years later, when we re¬ 
turned to New York, a fellow 
urged me to lecture on my experi¬ 
ences in writing abroad. He as¬ 
sured me he could get me good 
remuneration. I shook my head, 
telling him that I’d never done 
public speaking and was certain 
I’d faint the moment I confronted 
an audience. 

Then my wife said, “Once there 
was a squirrel — remember?” 

I knew she meant jump — take 
a chance — you can’t be hurt try¬ 
ing. So I changed my mind on the 
spot and in the next few months 
delivered 20 lectures, surviving 



PROFIT BY MY EXPERIENCE 


them without scars and even en¬ 
joying the experience. 

Since then, whenever I have to 
choose between risking a new ven¬ 
ture or hanging back, those five lit¬ 
tle words run through my thoughts: 
*‘Once there was a squirrel —” And 


toy 

sometimes 1 hear the old man on 
the park bench saying, “They’ve 
got to risk it if they don’t want to 
spend their lives in one tree,” 

So I’ve jumped again and again. 
And in jumping I’ve learned why 
the squirrels so often do it: it’s fun. 


—II 


It Shows in Your Eyes 


By 

Alfred E. Lyon 


PLAIN little man clerking b^- 
Jl\ hind a dry-goods counter 
A. ^ in Montreal many years 
ago, whom I knew only as Mr. 
Mathew, had a profound influence 
on my life. I was then 19, just over 
from London, with flashy ideas of 
making a fortune. My material 
possessions were an elegant broad¬ 
cloth Inverness cape and $5, and 1 
was glad to get a job as a clerk in 
a store for $6 a week and a com¬ 
mission on my sales. I didn’t know 
chintz from chenille, or anything 
about selling, but I pretended I did. 

Salesmanship, to my callow 
mind, meant talking in superla¬ 
tives, so I exa^erated the qualities 
of the merchandise even to the 
point of misrepre.sentation, guar¬ 
anteed the wearing quality of ma^ 
terials I knew nothing aboyt, and 
used all my glibness to persuade a 
customer to buy. 


I sold a fair amount by these 
tactics. Yet I noticed that plain 
old Mathew had a far better sales 
record at the end of the month. 
I asked him about it. He said: “It’s 
because people believe me.” 

Surprised, I asked: “Why don’t 
they believe me?’* 

“Remember, lad,” he said, 
“whatever you are, it shows in 
your eyesl” 

That brought me up with a jolt, 
and it came over me then, for the 
first time, that honesty meant 
something more than the fact that 
you did not steal money, that it 
also wasn’t just a vague ideal 
teachers and parents talk about, 
but a part of plain everyday living. 

I began to emulate Mathew and 
I was astonished to find it actually 
worked. My sales increased. One* 
day a simply dressed customer be¬ 
gan ordering high-priced goods 



August 


I 08 THE reader’s DIGEST 


rather reckless]y, I thought. My 
commission would be considerable; 
but, bent upon following Mathew’s 
precept of complete honesty, I 
urged her to consider the cheaper 
fabrics and to think about the en¬ 
tire purchase overnight. She bought 
what she wanted, however, and, 
to my surprise, she paid cash on 
the spot. 

Next day her husband came in, 
asked for me, and offered me a 
salesman’s job at four times the 
salary I was getting. He said he 
was a diamond merchant. When I 
told him I didn’t know a thing 
about diamonds, he said he didn’t 
care because I had already learned 
the most important principle of 
salesmanship. 

With full force I realized how 
valuable a lesson Mathew had 
taught me. There has never been 
a period in my life that I have not 
been grateful for it. 

I sold diamonds for several years. 
There was a great deal of chicanery 
in the wholesale diamond business 
at that time, and Mathew’s precept 
stood me in good stead almost im¬ 
mediately. I was showing samples 
to one of Toronto’s leading jewel¬ 
ers, who was deaf. Hard to please, 
he sent me for more samples that 
day and the next. 

Fearing that we were losing the 
sale, the salesman who was with 
me said before the deaf jeweler: 
“Show him one of the first packs 
again and tell him it’s new stuff.*’ 


I took a package out and ex¬ 
plained: “I could tell you this is a 
new assortment, but it’s not. You 
looked at it yesterday. But because 
I’m sure that these diamonds have 
the cut and spread you want, I 
really want you to look at them 
again todcay.” 

Quick as a flash he said: “I’ll buy 
them!’’ He was a steady customer 
from then cm. 

In time I came to New York and 
got a job as salessman for a large 
corporation. My first territory was 
in the lower Hast Side — the hard¬ 
est in the city. Prospects were dis¬ 
couraging there. Sales were low; 
rival salesmen were well estab¬ 
lished; the product I was selling 
was good, but not far and away 
better than other brands. 'Hien I 
remembered Mathew’s advice. It 
gave me courage. And it worked. 

Later I was promoted to assist¬ 
ant sales manager, then to man¬ 
ager. Now I have more than 650 
salesmen. Again and again in con¬ 
ferences with them I find myself 
paraphrasing Mathew’s creed: “If 
you’re not selling successfully, fix 
yourself up inside. You can’t be 
top-notch unless your eyes show 
you are honest!’’ 


Alfred E. Lyon, born in London fifty- 
odd years ago, has been an American citizen 
half that time. He is now executive vice- 
president of Philip Morris & Company, 
Inc., and his methods in the past seven 
years have raised his firm’s annual earnings 
from ^418,000 to ^7,000,000. 



mi 


PROFIT BY MY EXPERIENCE 


109 

—III— 

The fVoman of the Flowers 

By Maurice Maeterlinck 


W HILE WALKING in the coun¬ 
try one summer morning 
when I was a young man, 1 
learned what it means to use — 
really to use — the magic gift of 
sight. Attracted by a marvelous 
mist of fragrance borne by the 
breeze, I left the road and discov¬ 
ered nearby a wondrous garden. 
The flowers stretched before me in 
a rolling surf of blossoms —‘a 
lavish carpet of color and perfume, 
pci*vaded by the low sleepy murmur 
that was the working song of bees. 

In the path leading from a little 
house in the midst of the flowers 
stood an old and very tiny woman; 
I knew instinctively that she was 
the creator of this incredible gar¬ 
den. “This is a wonderful place you 
have,” I called to her. 

“Do you like flowers?” she an¬ 
swered. “Then do come in — ” 
When I stood beside her she did 
not look up at me, apparently pre¬ 
ferring to keep her eyes for the 
flowers, and I could not blame her. 
She spoke of them simply and lov¬ 
ingly. Indicating a patch nearby she 
said, “These — foxglove, forget- 
me-not, lily of the valley, violets 
and daisies — I call ‘old* flowers, 
because they have been known for 
centuries in Europe. Those” — 


here she pointed to fuchsia, African 
marigold, rose campion, hollyhock 
and others — “are newcomers, com¬ 
paratively; voyagers of the Renais¬ 
sance found them in far lands and 
carried them home.’* 

She told me the history of each 
flower. Some had been brought by 
merchant-adventurers from the In¬ 
dies, Mexico, Persia and Syria in 
the 16th century. In like manner 
the tulip came from Constanti¬ 
nople; later arrived the pansy, 
sweet pea and Indian pink. She 
told me of these and many more, 
from the great blue larkspur to the 
blood-red poppy and flaunting 
scarlet phlox. I thought, as I lis¬ 
tened, that I had never really seen 
a flower before. So luminously did 
she describe them that had it been 
blackest night I would have seen 
them clearly. 

“Notice that hooked spur of the 
columbine,” she said. “No bee can 
reach in to drain it except the bum¬ 
blebee. Over there is the cam¬ 
panula, my favorite among the tall 
plants; its flowers are so fine in 
texture that if you hold one close to 
your eyes it seems transparent. 
And see the leaves of the flax — 
they’re shaped like little lances.” 

Marveling, I asked her how she 



no 


THE reader’s digest 


knew her myriad flowers in such 
precise detail. ‘*I learned to use my 
eyes each day as if, the next morn¬ 
ing, I would no longer be able to 
see,” she said. “Then I found that 
nothing I had seen could ever be 
taken from me.” 

Many years have passed, but I 
have remembered her words. I 
could not easily forget them, if only 
because of that last moment when, 


smiling, she lifted her head to say 
good-bye and I saw the cataracts in 
her sightless eyes. 

She had used them well, before 
the dark morning came. 


Maurice Maeterunck, famous Belgian 
playwright and essayist, is the author of 
Blue Bird, The Life of the Bee, etc. 
Routed out of retirement in France by the 
Nazi invasion, he now lives in the U. S. 


Beware the Fake Trade Schools 

By Fran\ Brocf{ 


t( irvEciDE whether you want to carry 

JLJ' a gun or be a trained mechanic, 
away from the bullets,” is a typical ad¬ 
vertisement pf the phony trade schools 
which are springing up all over the 
country. 

Some of these frauds have victimized 
not only a few draft dotigers but thou¬ 
sands of straightforward young men, 
who have paid as much as $395, plus 
travel expenses, for worthless six weeks’ 
courses. 

Better Business Bureaus have been 
severely critical of numerous trade 
schools, including the Dilley Aircraft 
School in Kansas City, now operating 
as the Victory Aircraft Scliool. Behind 
it is John R. Brinkley, of goat gland 
notoriety, who escapes U. S. regulation 
of his advertising by broadcasting from 
Mexico. The Airtrades Institute of Cali¬ 
fornia was promising boys jobs in the 
Douglas factory. The Douglas company 
denounced it. 


Federal authorities usually are pow¬ 
erless against smooth operators, but did 
convict John Harold Adams who was 
selling courses in a Los Angeles school 
to Milwaukee boys. 

Airplane factories will not knowingly 
hire men trained in such schools. They 
prefer complete novices to men who 
have been half taught or taught wrong. 
As for draft exemption, the Selective 
Service boards weigh each application 
for deferment on its merits — and the 
merits of taking a course in a fraudu¬ 
lent school for draft dodgers are few. 

It is easy enough to distinguish the 
honest trade schools. They will not 
promise to make a student into a me¬ 
chanic in less than six or eight months. 
They will not demand large advance 
fees—indeed, many of the best ones 
are free and backed by the government. 
They will not guarantee jobs; and above 
all they will not promise escape from 
the army. 



It takes surprisingly little time and effort 
to make your dog obedient and well mannered 

How to Train Your Dog 

Condensed from Your Life 
Josef Weber 


can’t make my dog behave,” 
I runs a complaint typical of 
JL hundreds I receive. “He won’t 
come when called, he jumps up on 
visitors, knocks over furniture, and 
isn’t housebroken. What can I do?” 

My answer is always the same: 
Any dog owner who will spend a 
little time each day can train his 
dog to be an obedient companion 
— no matter how long he has had 
the dog. Of course, training cannot 
change disposition; vicious dogs 
are hopeless, but any dog of any 
age with a decent disposition can 
be taught good behavior. 

Every house dog should be 
trained to do the following, unhes¬ 
itatingly, on command: 

I. Walk at heel, with or without 
leash. 2. Sit down and remain 
seated until called. 3. Lie down 

Josef Weber is proprietor of Weber’s 
Training School at Princeton, N. J., an 
outstanding establishment for the training 
of dogs. He is one of the founders of the 
Obedience Test Club, is well known as a 
judge of obedience classes at dog shows and 
as a delegate of the American Kennel Club. 
He has earned an international reputation 
training dogs for the blind and for police 
work, and is author of the instruction book, 
9 be Dog in Training. 


and stay there. 4. Come instantly 
when called. 5. Stop at a distance 
on signal. 

In addition, he should have the 
habit of immaculate cleanliness 
and a clear comprehension of what 
is right and what is wrong. 

In this training the master’s tone 
of voice is important, for by it the 
dog knows whether you mean to 
command, reprove, or praise. Use 
the petting, the commanding, and 
the angry voice — each at the 
proper time. Do not shout: your 
dog has a better car than you have. 

The only equipment you need is 
a leather leash and what is called 
a choke collar. The leash should be 
soft, flat, and as long as the trainer 
is tall. Two other things you will 
need: patience and kindness — 
they are more important than 
anything else. 

The daily training period should 
be from a half hour to an hour. 
Here are the directions for training: 

Heel. Carry your leash in the 
right hand, with the loop end 
around your wrist or thumb; also 
grasp the leash in the middle. Your 
left hand is thus free for controlling 
and petting. Lead your dog, on 


Copyright rg4r^ The Kingsvaay PresSf Ine.^ 354 Fourth Aoe.^ N. T, C. 
iXour Lifet August^ ’41) 


Hi 



112 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


your left side, with a loose leash. 
If he goes ahead of you slow down, 
jerk, and command: *‘Heel.” If the 
dog hangs back pat your thigh and 
talk in a petting voice to bring him 
up to your left, giving the com¬ 
mand: “Heel.” Soon the dog will 
discover that his natural place is 
close to your side. 

Sit Down. Hold the leash in the 
right hand, short, just back of the 
snap, so that it is perpendicular. 
Put your left hand on the dog’s 
back close to the tail and, at the 
command, “Sit down,” press his 
hind quarters downward while pull¬ 
ing up on the leash. 

Lie Down. Step back a few steps 
so that the dog has space to stretch 
out on the ground facing you. Hold 
your leash semi-taut in either hand. 
Raise your other hand to the height 
of your face, then strike the leash 
so that you produce a jerk on the 
collar. Be sure the jerk is sudden. 
Because of the striking motion, 
the dog will naturally duck, and the 
downward jerk combined with the 
command, “Lie down,” completes 
the lesson. Never pet your dog 
after giving the command; this 
encourages him to get up. Voice 
and tone must be commanding. 
Repetition will teach the dog to 
drop immediately when so ordered. 

Stay There. When your dog is ly¬ 
ing down on command, keep repeat¬ 
ing the command: “Stay there.” 
Do not speak the dog’s name after 
the command; this will act like the 
command “Come” and destroy 


the meaning of the lesson. Regular 
practice will teach your pet to lie 
still for any length of time you 
desire. 

Come. Get your dog in the lie- 
down position, step back as far as 
your leash allows, jerk your leash 
slightly toward you, pat your knee, 
and in a friendly voice call the dog 
by name with the command: 
“Come.” If he shows willingness to 
obey, drop the leash over his back 
and gradually lengthen your dis¬ 
tance from him. A dog that refuses 
to come, or that runs away, should 
have a 25-foot rope attached to his 
leash so that you can make him 
come or stop him. Should he at¬ 
tempt to break away, quickly step 
on the end of the rope lying at your 
feet, so that he will jerk himself up 
short. It is important to give the 
command “Come” at this mo¬ 
ment. Never allow your dog to 
come to you and then run on by. 
The instant he reaches you, com¬ 
mand him to sit down. VVith a few 
such lessons, even the most undis¬ 
ciplined dog can be taught to come 
instantly. Remember, however, if 
coming to you is usually followed 
by an unpleasant bit of discipline, 
the dog quickly learns that it is 
better sense not to come at all. 

Stopping at a Distance. Probably 
25 percent of our dogs lose their 
lives by being run over by automo¬ 
biles. If your dog is trained to halt 
on command when at a distance 
from you, you can stop him from 
crossing the street when you see 



1941 

danger approaching. To do this, 
call him to you from the sitting or 
lying down position; when he is 
halfway raise your right hand with 
a stern command: “Lie down!” 
Practice will make him perfect at 
this, and he always will be under 
your control even when several 
hundred feet away. 

Houselreaking. This requires kind¬ 
ness and patience. 'I'he first step is 
to regulate feeding. Never give 
liquid food, except water, after six 
in the evening. Regular hours for 
feeding regulate the interior mech¬ 
anism. Solid foods, such as meat, 
give more peace through the night. 
The most urgent exercise periods 
are early in the morning and right 
after each meal. Once he has done 
his duty outside, take him the next 
time to the same place; it will re¬ 
mind him and save vou time. If he 
has been uncleanly during the 
night, put him in a box which gives 
him just room enough to lie down 
comfortably. Since he wants to 
keep his bed clean, he will be com¬ 
pelled to exercise control. Do not 
whip him for a mistake; he will not 
connect his perfectly natural func¬ 
tion with the whipping. Use your 
energy in taking him out at fre¬ 
quent intervals. He will under¬ 
stand that. 

Do not think that while your 
dog is in training you should not 
play with him or give him a good 
time. Make the training interesting 
and pleasant for him, be lavish 
with petting and praise, and you 


^^3 

will have half the work and little 
trouble. 

Often it is necessary to break 
dogs of bad habits; for instance, 
preventing a dog from lying in 
living-room chairs. This is easily 
done by putting a small mousetrap 
in his favorite chair; after it has 
snapped and scared him several 
times he will understand that he 
doesn*t belong there. It is fairly 
easy to teach a dog not to jump up 
affectionately on visitors. When- 
ever he plants his paws on your 
waist, push him over sharply so 
that he will fall on his back. Hold 
the leash tightly to control his fall, 
so that he cannot land too hard. 
Repeat this every time he leaps up 
<in you. Few dogs will try a third 
time. 

In breaking a puppy of barking, 
first realize that a small pup sud¬ 
denly taken from his mother is 
unhappy and frightened. The first 
night or two he will bark and howl. 
Be sure his quarters are comforta¬ 
ble, then don’t go near him no 
matter how much he howls. If you 
go to him he will conclude that all 
he has to do is bark to bring you to 
his side; when he learns that howl¬ 
ing does no good, he will give it up. 

Older dogs that bark at post¬ 
men, delivery boys, and other visi¬ 
tors whom they should know, do so 
out of shyness and uncertainty. A 
dog’s vision is faulty at a distance; 
hence a dog who is not sure of him¬ 
self will bark at anyone who ap¬ 
proaches. Even when the visitor is 


HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DOG 



THE READER'S DIGEST 


114 

close enough to be identified as 
friendly by his scent — which is 
more important to the canine in¬ 
telligence than sight — the dog will 
often continue to bark, simply be¬ 
cause he does not like to admit he 
was wrong in the first place. The 
best cure for such dogs is to take 
them fre(|uently to crowded places. 
Walk the dog on busy streets, take 
him to open-air gatherings, so that 
he will realize that human beings 
in general mean him no harm. In 
extreme cases, the best cure is to 
dash water suddenly on him. 

Never whip your dog unless he at¬ 
tacks a human being or viciously at¬ 
tacks another dog. In either case the 
whipping should be immediate and 
severe. 


Once a dog has had the training 
here outlined, he will nof forget it. 
You will find that his immediate 
obedience to commands gives you 
easy control over him. Your home 
life will be considerably less ruffled, 
and you will be able to take your 
dog with you anywhere, without 
worry — through traffic, to restau¬ 
rants or hotels, and to the homes of 
your friends. 

Your reward for the time and 
trouble of training will be a well- 
mannered, obedient, loyal compan¬ 
ion and friend. The principal thing 
is to understand your dog and do as 
much for him as he is always will¬ 
ing to do for you. Even the sorriest 
stray will return your kindness a 
hundredfold. 



Discovering Democracy 


From the letter of a German girl newly arrived in A.merica: 


C/ HAVE FOUND an extraordinary thing here in 
this country, that I never found before. Here everybody is your fel¬ 
low human being, your fellow friend. If it is the mailman or the hair¬ 
dresser or the garbage-car driver or a clerk or a director or a rich lady, 
they all feel and act toward each other as equals. I have not yet found 
a person who treated somebody else with the feeling, “I’m better.” 
They take each otJier for granted as good, decent, honest and nice. 
How extraordinary wlien you come from Europe where education and 
money and race have made such deep gaps that never can be mended 
again. Where you feel inferior at every second corner because you are 
of a different religitm or you have less money or you are only this or 
that. “Only” is the key of relations between human beings in Europe, 
whereas it is here equality and being worth the same, regardless of 
what you are. — Contributed by Louise Redfield Peattie 



C Upgrading at Lockheed — and how it 
provides skilled and satisfied workers 


Novices Today, Producers Tomorrow 

Condensed from Factory Management and Maintenance 

Prank J. Tay lor 


Y oung Bill Clark hitch-hiked 
from Nebraska to line up one 
morning in front of the em¬ 
ployment office of the Ix)ckheed 
Aircraft Company in Burbank, 
California. 

“Farm boy, aren^t you?” asked 
the employment manager. 

“Yes,” Bill admitted reluctantly. 
“Swell! Fill out this application 
blank and we’ll give you some tests 
to see how good you are.” 

On Bill’s first questionnaire, 
called a “temperament scale,” 
there were 318 questions and Bill 
thought they were rather silly: 
(“Do you get mad easily and soon 
get over it?” “Have you ever lost 
weight over worry?”) Neverthe¬ 
less, Bill answered all of them. A 
second test was full of catch ques¬ 
tions and trick problems. But Bill 
likes problems. Next he put to¬ 
gether a jigsaw puzzle in three di¬ 
mensions, and repeated that motor 
coordination test three times against 
a stop watch. Then he was timed 
as he put pegs in holes and picked 
up bits of metal with tweezers. 
Finally the medical department 
gave him a thorough going over. 
Bill thought all this a funny way 


to size up a mechanic. Anyhow he 
was notified that the company was 
going to send him to trade school 
for a month and pay him learner’s 
wages, ^20.40 a week. By the end 
of the month Bill was riveting the 
frame of a bomber in the factory. 

He discovered that most of his 
fellow riveters were going to classes 
in templet making, spot welding, 
or some other of the 200 crafts in¬ 
volved in building a plane, most of 
which pay better than riveting. 

“What does it cost?” Bill in¬ 
quired. 

“Nothing,” replied his boss. 
“The company pays for the up¬ 
grading classes.” 

“What’s upgrading?” 

“Well, everybody in this plant is 
on the upgrade to a better job.” 

Bill soon made other discoveries. 
Nobody ever had to ask for a raise 
in the Lockheed factory. Once 
every four months Bill’s boss re¬ 
ported to the management on Bill’s 
work, his adaptability, knowledge, 
dependability and attitude. If Bill 
wasn’t recommended for a raise 
every four months, the boss — not 
Bill — had to do some explaining. 

As a junior riveter Bill’s base pay 

Its 


Copyright 1941, M^raw-Hill Pub. Co., Inc., jjo W. 42 St., N. T. C. 
(Factory Management end Maintenance, July, *//) 



THE reader’s digest 


Il6 

was $27.60 a week. In eight months 
he was up to $32.40. Meanwhile he 
was doing school work, which quali¬ 
fied him for promotion to templet 
maker, where the top pay is $37.20. 
Now he studies draftsmanship, 
planning to become a production 
engineer. 

Bill Clark is only one of 200,000 
young Americans who have been 
tested in the past two years to pick 
new Lockheed employes. The pay¬ 
roll has expanded from 7000 to 
27,000 men — working in three 
shifts, mainly on Hudson bombers 
for Britain. Some 1200 new men a 
week are being added in prepara¬ 
tion for opening the company’s new 
Vega plant, which will turn out 
P-38 interceptors. This phenom¬ 
enal expansion was accomplished 
without pirating men from other 
industrial plants. Nor was there 
any reservoir of trained craftsmen 
to draw from. Practically every 
man hired is a novice; farm boys, 
delivery boys, students fresh out of 
high school and college. Within a 
year, nine out of ten of these green¬ 
horns are well up the ladder as 
skilled aircraft builders. 

Lockheed makes no claim to 
having invented the upgrading sys¬ 
tem. The electrical manufacturing 
industry was probably the pioneer 
and nearly all the airplane makers 
have used it in some form. Just 
now, under the stimulus of the 
OPM training-in-industry program, 
factories in many other lines are 
hurriedly installing upgrading sys- 


August 

terns. But Lockheed’s is one of the 
oldest and many observers call it 
the best. 

It began five years ago, the brain 
child of redheaded Svend Pedersen, 
a designer trained in Denmark, 
who joined Lockheed in its strug¬ 
gling days. He had a flair for teach¬ 
ing, and after hours was usually to 
be found in the middle of a group 
of workmen who were eagerly ask¬ 
ing him (juestions. About iq35, 
Pedersen prevailed upon the com¬ 
pany to sponsor lectures on blue¬ 
print-reading and metallurgy to 
give the men the fundamentals 
they had never been taught be¬ 
cause the apprentice system had 
collapsed during the depression. So 
many craftsmen joined the back- 
to-school movement that the com¬ 
pany had to rent the Burbank 
municipal auditorium to accom¬ 
modate them. 

When Pedersen’s first ten weeks* 
lecture course was ended, the 
pupils clamored for more. So the 
energetic Dane became the com¬ 
pany’s first educational director, 
offering every Lockheed employe 
the opportunity to train himself for 
a better job at company expense. 
Approving Pedersen’s curriculum 
of 14 courses, the state department 
of education and the Burbank city 
school system provided classrooms 
at night. This year 9000 Lockheed 
workers are enrolled in courses that 
now stretch out to six months. The 
company has detailed 100 top men 
to act as instructors. In Burbank, 



ig^r 


NOVICES TODAY, PRODUCERS TOMORROW 


Glendale and Van Nuys this spring 
you could see crowds of Lockheed 
night-shift workers waiting around 
the public schools for the children 
to leave. 

Several thousand employes be¬ 
ginning as riveters at 6o cents an 
hour have been upgraded through 
two or three skilled crafts to wages 
twice that high, while 200 erstwhile 
mechanics arc now designers, drafts¬ 
men and engineers. Nor has Tx)ck- 
hced trained men for other employ¬ 
ers to hire away. The upgrading 
plan has created a spirit of loyalty, 
tangibly demonstrated in the fact 
that the plant’s labor turnover is 
the lowest in the industry. 

Plane building is done by teams, 
thousands of them, each group 
needing a leader. Finding those 
leaders, during the hectic expansion 
period, was difficult. But now Ped¬ 
ersen’s classes provide them, and 
the personnel department’s job is 
mostly to select beginners like Bill. 

In earlier days a considerable 
share of the beginners were unable 
to adapt themselves to working in 
teams. They were either too slow 
or too fast, or perhaps uncongenial. 
A good many of them would quit 
after a few weeks. The company 
consulted Robert C. Storment, then 
employed by the Los Angeles Board 
of Education. 

“The time to solve this problem 
is before the workers are hired,” he 
said, and so every man and woman 
added to the payroll in the past 
two years has run the gantlet of 


117 

tests by Storment, now Lockheed 
employment manager. 

“The temperament test,” Stor¬ 
ment explains, “screens out people 
who blow up and wreck the smooth 
functioning of a team.” Ninety per¬ 
cent of the men who quit or are dis¬ 
charged have the wrong tempera¬ 
ment for the work. 

The routine intelligence test has 
been revised to screen out the bril¬ 
liant people as well as the dullards. 
Men too smart don’t fit well into 
airplane-building teams, but some 
of them are passed upstairs to the 
designing room. The physical ex¬ 
amination is designed to find men 
with the stamina for high-specil 
craftsmanship. 'I'he motor coordi¬ 
nation tests make sense when you 
learn that a Hudson bomber is 
made of 34,000 odd-shaped bits of 
metal, not counting rivets, that 
have to be fitted together just so. 

After the workers are selected, 
the company continues its personal 
interest in them. One thing that 
makes Bill Clark feel that his em¬ 
ployer is human is “the crying 
department,” as the men have 
nicknamed it. The personnel chief 
of each of the 14 divisions is always 
ready to turn a sympathetic ear to 
any employe’s troubles. Building a 
home, buying a car, legal involve¬ 
ments, family deaths and births, 
all are legitimate problems of the 
personnel chiefs. The Lockheed 
Employes* Credit Union has $385,- 
000 in employe deposits to lend to 
workers caught in financial jams. 



ii8 


THE reader’s digest 


Any time Bill Clark thinks he 
isn't being upgraded as fast as he 
should be, he can ask for a special 
review of his work. If he dislikes his 
job he can be transferred to some¬ 
thing else that he may be qualified 
to do. He can make these requests 
cither directly to personnel or 
through his union. The liockheed 
plant has a blanket contract with 
an AFL union, covering every job 
from riveters to stenographers, and 
about 6o percent of the employes 
belong. 

Upgrading proved an unexpected 
boon in finding new men as defense 
expansion accelerated. Many have 
been recruited through personal 


contact with someone in the plant 
who “sold them on Lotkheed." 
Storment calls this “the bird-dog 
system of finding men.” To save 
applicants the expense of coming 
to Burbank, Storment's tests are 
given in 1500 employment offices 
scattered over the country. 

I'he employe training program is 
costing the. Lockheed Company 
^300,000 a year, and company 
officials call it good business. A 
prime benefit is ^excellent labor re¬ 
lations. “A man doesn’t have to 
strike for more money here,” ex¬ 
plains Pedersen. ’“He can get it 
easier by learning a craft that pays 
higher wages.” 





aiAr A BEACH PARTY for ariists and writers, James Montgomery Flagg 
and Arthur William Brown spied a bit of refuse washed up on the 
sand. “Ah,” said Brownie, indicating the refuse, “there’s old X . . .” 
naming an artist they Iwth cordially disliked. “Yes,” added Flagg, 
“anti I’ve never seen him looking better.” ~Conmimrcd i>y Tom Furion* 

H. At the finish of filming TMU of Divorcement, Katha¬ 
rine Hepburn turned to ]ohn Barrymore and said, “Thank 
God, I don’t have to act any more with you!” 

“Oh,” he replied, “I didn’t know you ever had, 

darling. — Alma Power-Waters, John Barrymore (Messner) 

^Dorothy Parker once misspent a week-end with a group of mad¬ 
dening neurotics and a hostess of evil disposition and the appearance of 
an old crow. While washing for dinner the second evening, with the 
one friend she had in the place, Mrs. Parker noticed an old, outworn 
toothbrush with practically no bristles lying on the shelf. “I wonder,” 
her friend mused, “what our lovable hostess uses that for?” 

“Oh,” said Mrs. Parker, “she probably rides it on Halloween.” 

— E. E. Edgar in Denver Post 



C It gives better illumination for less money, 
helps diagnose disease, even acts as a detective 

Strange Uses of Fluorescent Light 

Condensed from The Atlantic Monthly 
Harland Manchester 

W HEN the New York and years electric light had been pro- 
San Francisco fairs opened duced by passing current through 
two years ago, visitors a wire which was thus heated until 
were impressed by miles of glass it glowed. Even in the gas-filled 
tubes glowing at night with many tungsten-filament lamp 90 percent 
colors and giving out a soft yet of the current is wasted in heat. 'I'o 
powerful light. Tfws was the public create a more efficient lamp, lab¬ 
unveiling of fluorescent light, the oratory research men had to start 
first radical departure in illumina^ over again on a different tack, 
tion since Edison’s invention of It had been knov/n for years that 
the filament electric bulb. many materials will “fluoresce,” 

Spectators dismissed this revolu- or glow, when exposed to ultraviolet 

tionary light, however, as only an- light. Finally someone hit upon the 
other decoration for fairs and idea of caging ultraviolet light and 
carnivals, or something to be u.sed a fluorescent material inside a gla.ss 
for adverti.sing and display. But in tube and thus making a new kind 
two years fluorescent lighting has of lamp. Although experiments had 
swept the country; more than a been going on in Europe, it was 
million establishments are now American engineering skill which 
lighted by it, and it is being in- brought practical fluorescent light- 
stalled in hundreds of factories, ing to the public, 
offices, stores and restaurants every At the General Electric Corn- 
week. pany’s Nela Park laboratory in 

Moreover, the lamp’s active Cleveland, George Inman ground 
principle has been adapted to a a piece of willemite stone to povv- 
score of other important uses: to der, mixed this with an adhesive 
study disease, to save crops, to and sprayed a thin coating on the 
detect thieves, and to provide light inside of a glass tube. Electric ter- 
in wartime which cannot be seen minals were placed in the ends of 
by the enemy. the tube and the tube filled with 

This kind of illumination has long mercury vapor, which acted as a 
been the dream of engineers. For 50 conductor. This produced ultra- 

Copyrigbt 1941% The Atlantic Monthly Co., 8 Arlington St.^ Bosfont Mass. 

(The Atlantic MonMy^ Jttlyt VA ^‘9 



J20 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


violet rays, transformed by the 
excited willemite into a wave length 
suitable for illumination. Soft flu¬ 
orescent light poured forth from 
the tube. Improved on by Inman 
and others, notably James L. Cox 
of the Hygrade Sylvania Corpora¬ 
tion and Edward C. Dench of 
VVestinghouse, the new light now 
has become commercially practical. 

The fluorescent lamp is cooler, 
easier on the eyes and vastly more 
efficient than any other light. It 
will give twice as much light for the 
same current and produce only half 
as much heat. Every corner of the 
room appears to be flooded with 
soft, evenly distributed light. Placed 
overhead in clusters or fixed verti¬ 
cally on the walls are gleaming 
tubular fluorescent bars, usually 
two to four feet long and i inches 
in diameter. Sometimes the tubes 
are partly shielded with glass or 
translucent plastic grids. You can 
look at the tubes without hurting 
your eyes, and you will notice that 
you have lost your shadow. This is 
because the tube, having ten times 
the surface area of an ordinary 
light bulb of the same wattage, 
spreads the light widely and evenly. 

The leading manufacturers of 
the new lamp — General Electric, 
Westinghouse and Hygrade Syl¬ 
vania — have developed fluores¬ 
cent powders which will produce 
light of almost any color. Before 
the new lamp was invented, col¬ 
ored light was produced by stain¬ 
ing the glass or using a colored 


screen, which lost most of the light. 
Fluorescent colored light is itself 
colored, one reason why it is so 
efficient. 

First introduced at the fairs, 
2,000,000 tubes were sold in 1939. 
Now assembly lines run day and 
night to meet the estimated 1941 
demand for 20,000,000 fluorescent 
lamps. 

The lamp came along just in 
time to light our new defense 
plants. Most .factories, whose il¬ 
lumination was only about five 
foot-candlcsS, had been too dimly 
lighted for fast, accurate work, and 
the heavy cost of wiring for more 
current prevented improvement. 
Now the government calls for 35 
to 60 foot-candles of light in plants 
which it finances — and the flu¬ 
orescent lamp makes this possible. 
Textile plants also are rapidly 
changing to fluorescent light. 

Because it is more expensive to 
install, it is so far of interest chiefly 
in places using a great deal of light 
or where light of a special quality is 
needed. Art museums, for instance, 
have tried for years to duplicate 
the north light under which paint¬ 
ers work and under which paintings 
should be seen. Now Pittsburgh’s 
Carnegie Institute has solved the 
problem with fluorescent light. 

In retail shops the new light has 
spread with the speed of an epi¬ 
demic. Its coolness reduces the cost 
of air-conditioning in offices, trains, 
restaurants and stores. Food, flow¬ 
ers and other perishable goods keep 



STRANGE USES OF FLUORESCENT LIGHT 


121 


1941 

fresh longer. Drugstores report sav¬ 
ings of 30 percent in light bills. 
Since they remain open long hours 
this saving may pay off the installa¬ 
tion cost of $300 or so in a year. 

In the home, fluorescent light is 
still in an experimental stage. 
Many people have installed its 
glareless glow in bathrooms, game 
rooms and kitchens. The tubes last 
about 2500 hours, compared with 
1000 hours for the filament bulb. 

The filament light bulb is strong 
in yellow and red, while the new 
lamp has an extra supply of blue 
and green; hence its effect is differ¬ 
ent. Navy blue and black, which 
look alike under a filament bulb," 
are easily distinguished under fluo¬ 
rescent light. On the other hand, 
the yellow of butter takes on a 
faintly greenish tinge under fluo¬ 
rescent light. But engineers and 
decorators are experimenting to 
produce a light which will satisfy 
every requirement .in the home. 
They are also working on fluores¬ 
cent floor lamps and table lamps, 
and making tubes from giants five 
feet long to pigmies six inches in 
length and no thicker than your 
finger. 

These smaller tubes light the 
instrument boards of our newest 
fighting planes. Dials are easier to 
read; the reduced glare inside the 
cockpit helps the pilot’s vision and 
conceals his position from the en¬ 
emy. The recent discoveries about 
fluorescence which made the lamp 
possible have stimulated the in- 


Ncar Fallon, Nevada, prospec¬ 
tors are using portable fluorescent 
lamps to find scheclitc, an ore 
from whicii tungsten, indispen¬ 
sable war metal, is obtained. Hun¬ 
dreds of claims have recently been 
staked out in this region, which 
holds promise of becoming an im¬ 
portant source of the metal. 

Scheelite was formed when, in 
the world’s making, molten granite 
overflowed a stratum of limestone. 
By day prospectors scan the hill¬ 
sides for outcroppings which .show 
granite-limestone contact, then 
give them the lamp test at night. 
If scheelite is present, it glows 
under the ultraviolet rays. — up 


vention of scores of devices using 
the same principle. The powder 
need not be confined in a glass tube 
— it is excited by ultraviolet at a 
distance of many feet. It can be 
mixed with paints and dyes with¬ 
out losing its sensitivity. In Eng¬ 
land, subway entrances and bomb 
shelters are marked with fluores¬ 
cent paint; during a blackout this 
glows under the invisible rays of an 
ultraviolet lamp. Military maps 
dusted with fluorescent powder can 
be read in the dark with the aid of 
a small “invisible lamp.” 

A research scientist was showing 
me some fluorescent chemicals un¬ 
der ultraviolet light when I noticed 
“ B-15 ” in large blue symbols across 
his shirt front. When we left the 
laboratory it was invisible. He ex¬ 
plained that since many people dis- 




122 


THE reader’s digest 


like indelible ink markings, his 
laundry marks garments with a 
fluorescent dye. To avoid mix-ups 
in identification of babies, a Chi¬ 
cago hospital marks them with a 
harmless fluorescent dye. 

The fact that various inks and 
glues fluoresce difFercntly under 
ultraviolet light provides a new 
way to detect forgery, altera¬ 
tion of documents, and tampering 
with the mail. If a letter is pried 
open and glued up again, the second 
adhesive betrays itself. An Ohio 
firm advertises an inexpensive 
fluorescence kit — powder and “in¬ 
visible lamp” — for the detection 
of petty thieves or saboteurs. Cash, 
merchandise or machines arc dusted 
with the inconspicuous powder; no 
matter if the guilty person scrubs 
his hands, beneath the lamp they 
blaze with telltale green. 

Butter and margarine may look 
alike under daylight, but under 
ultraviolet margarine is blue. Fresh 
eggs have a reddish fluorescence, 
but after ten days become reddish 
brown, then blue. Characteristic 
fluoiescent colors betray chicory in 
coffee, horse fat in lard, and refined 
oil in supposedly virgin olive oil. 

Government experiment stations 
detect fungus infections and other 
plant diseases by their fluorescence. 
Ring rot has long been a serious 
problem of western potato farmers. 


In cutting up seed potatoes for 
planting, the occasional infected 
spot was hard to see, and some¬ 
times an entire crop was blighted 
because the farmer spread the in¬ 
fection with his knife. Professor 
R. B. Harvey of the University of 
Minnesota observed that the fluo¬ 
rescent color of ring rot was bright 
green, and worked out a technique 
which farmers used successfully 
last spring: cutting was done be¬ 
neath ultraviolet, and it was easy 
to throw out diseased potatoes 
and then dip the knife in a disin¬ 
fectant. 

Since Ehrlich’s time pathologists 
have stained human ti.ssue to make 
them visible under the microscope. 
Allowance had to be made for 
changes caused by the chemical ac¬ 
tion of the dyes. With the fluores¬ 
cent microscope, each species of 
bacteria has a characteristic fluo¬ 
rescent color. The tuberculosis 
germ glows in yellowish rose; the 
A-type typhoid germ in violet- 
tinged yellow, the B-type in green¬ 
ish yellow. Cancerous tissue fluo¬ 
resces with a purplish-pearly hue 
while healthy tissue appears almost 
black. 

Today many able men are test¬ 
ing the fluorescence of hundreds of 
materials, and trying out new 
mechanisms, to unite them for all 
manner of useful tasks. 



The Answer Mari's Answers 

(Questions on page 93) 


1. No. Cold water will freeze faster 
than hot water. But water which 
has been boiled and allowed to 
cool will freeze faster than water 
from the tap — due to the fact 
that boiling has driven out a 
certain amount of the air bub¬ 
bles normally found in all water. 

¥ 

2 . If you are out in the rain for 
any given length of time, you’ll 
get less wet walking and least 
wet standing still. 

3 . I.egally a tomato is a vegetable. 
Horticulturally a tomato is a 
fruit because it is a berry. 

4 . Because of an ancient supersti¬ 
tion that when a person sneezed 
his soul left his body through 
the nostrils for a moment and 
that the devil would slip in and 
block the return of the soul. By 
blessing the person who sneezes 
the devil is ke{)t out. 

5 . On the day before his 21 st 
birthday. 

6. 7 ’heodorc Roosevelt lost the 
sight of his left eye through an 
accident which occurred during 
a friendly boxing match with an 
army officer in the early years of 
his presidency. 

7 . Because most baseball fields are 
laid out with home plate toward 
the west so that the sun will not 
be in the batters’ eyes. Thus the 
pitcher faces west and his left 
hand is toward the south. 

8. Yes. One half a bill can be re¬ 


deemed at one half its face value; 
five eighths or -more, at full 
value. 

9 . February 28. 

¥ 

10. Because he is scared and has 
come to know the barn as a place 
of safety. 

11. In a short race, a horse. In a 
long race, a man. A horse, Chidio 
II, ran T05 miles in 12 hours in 
1924. A man, J. Saunders, ran 
120 miles in just under 23 hours 
in 1882. But the I'arahuniare 
Indians of Mexico can average 
100 miles a day for days at a 
time. In 1924 a six-day race was 
staged in J.ondon between a race 
horse. Black Jack, and a Mara¬ 
thoner, (ieofge Hall. On the fifth 
day Black Jack was all in and 
had to be withdrawn. At that 
time Hall was 15 miles ahead 
and going strong. 

12. Becaii.se it was originally worth 
two “bits” of a Spanish dollar. 
I'he Spanish dollar used in the 
West Indies was divided into 
eight reals, or “bits” — whence 
“piece of eight.” In 1792, when 
our monetary system was estab¬ 
lished, the Spanish dollar was 
used as the basis for the Ameri¬ 
can dollar — and since a quarter 
was equal to two eighths, the 
quarter was called “ two bits.” 

13 . The term “love” is the Angli¬ 
cized version of the French 
**roeu/y* which means egg. 



124 


THE reader's digest 


**Uoeuf*' is French slang for 
zero because the symbol “O’* 
looks like an egg. 

14 . Fear stimulates the adrenal 
glands to pour out an overdose 
of their secretion which constricts 
the little blood vessels on the 
surface of the body, so that the 
blood is literally squeezed out of 
the skin. Extreme anger causes 
a similar reaction, hence “white 
with rage.” 

15 . The custom is believed to have 
originated in the days when 
most travel was on horseback 
and every stranger was a po¬ 
tential enemy. Whenever two 
riders approached each other, 
each would sidle over to^the left 


so that his sword or pistol arm 
would be next to the sj-ranger 
and ready for instant use. 

16 . Steam. The kernel of popcorn 
contains enough moisture to 
cause a steam explosion when 
heated. 

17 . Once in 87 births. 

18 . With glue. The fly secretes a 
small amount of viscid liquid in 
the membranous pads of its feet 
which “glue” it to the ceiling. 

19 . Because the three balls were a 
part of the coat of arms of the 
Medici family — the first famous 
pawnbrokers. 

20. Because he isn’t touching any¬ 
thing else and, therefore, doesn’t 
ground the electricity. 




^ TrrE smmRECKEu sailor had spent nearly three years on a desert 
Island, and one morning was overjoyed to see a ship in the bay and a 
boat putting off for the shore. As tlic boat grounded on the beach an 
officer threw the sailor a bundle of newspapers. 

“The Captain’s compliments,’’ said the officer, “and will you please 
read through these and then let him know whether you still wish to 
be rescued.’’ — Tu-bus 


^atl ^ale 

^ “It was so cold where we were,” said the Arctic explorer, “that the 
candle froze and we couldn’t blow it out.” 

“That’s nothing,” said his rival. “Where we were the words came 
out of our mouths in pieces of ice and we had to fry them to hear what 
we were talking about.” — Wall Street Journal 



Condensed from 

H. M. PULHAM, ESQUIRE 

by 

John P. Marquand 

Pulitzer Prize novelist; author of 
"The Late George Apley,” “Wickford Point,” etc. 

H. M. Pu/ham, Esquire^ a recent selection of The Book-of-the- 
Month Club, stands high on the fiction best-seller list. In it 
Mr. Marquand satirizes the “right people*’ and the adver¬ 
tising business with the same brilliance which won him the 
Pulitzer Prize. 

The story itself centers about Marvin Myles, the girl Harry 
Pulham could never forget. Her portrait is drawn with superla¬ 
tive insight, honesty and tenderness. 



Copyright ig^, /p^/, John P. Marquand and Adelaide //. Marquand; published at $2.50 by 
Little^ Brown & €0.^34 Beacon St., Boston, Mass. 






MARVIN MYLES 

i 




I CAME HOME froiTi thc Ijist war 
with a medal which I didn^t 
deserve. As a matter of tact old 
General Rolfax only had it given 
me to save his own face. He should 
have been court-martialed for or¬ 
dering my company into an unten¬ 
able position and then forgetting to 
recall it. But the citation read: 

Henry Pul ham, Second Lieu¬ 
tenant — Infantry: The only sur- 
¥ ^ 

yiying officer of his company, after 
a reconnaissance in the town of 

M-. Although surroundc<J by 

the enemy, Lieutenant Pulham re¬ 
fused to surrender; he repulsed three 
assaults and withdrew with his 
command under coyer of darkness; 
recrossed the Vesle Riyer and re¬ 
joined his regiment. 

The funny part of it is that a 
good deal of it is true, although 
now I cannot imagine doing such a 
thing. After the other officers were 
killed our situation seemed desper¬ 
ate enough, and we were given a 
chance to surrender. The offer was 
made after a handkerchief was 
waved on the end of a rifle and an 
officer in dirty gray climbed out of 
the trench facing us. 

When the man stood up, I stood 


up too and crawled out over the 
rubbish to meet him. I remembered 
just enough German from college 
to speak to him. He was a captain, 
about my age. He said we were 
surrounded and that we had better 
give up. I told him that if any of 
my men wanted to surrender, I 
would send them over. 

“If they will kindly hold up their 
hands,” the Captain said, 

I felt in my pocket and drew out 
a package of cigarettes. We each 
lighted one, and I offered ^im the 
rest. It was a hot, dry day and the 
perspiration was streaming down 
our faces. We stood there smoking 
for a minute, for he seemed in no 
hurry. 

“Beautiful thanks for the ciga¬ 
rettes,” he said. “I shall give you 
five minutes. If you or any of your 
men desire to come we shall be 
pleased to see you.” He smiled, and 
saluted. “If Americans are like 
you,” he added, “I shall come to 
America.” 

He never came to America and 
he never used the cigarettes, be¬ 
cause he was killed 15 minutes later 
when they attacked us. I crawled 
back over what was left of the wall, 
aware that I had to make a speech 



MARVIN MYLES 


I2y 


and that I had never been good at 
talking to enlisted men. I couldn’t 
think what to say, so I called Ser¬ 
geant Brooks. 

“ Sergeant,” I said, “ if any of the 
men would like to go over, they can 
do so in the next five minutes, but 
T think the right thing for me is to 
stay here. Pass the word around, 
Sergeant.” 

J^rgeant Brooks cleared his throat. 

“Listen, you tramps,” he called, 
“if any of you are yellow you can 
go on over. The Lieutenant says 
he’s going to sit down here. He 
don’t want to live forever.” 

T wished that I could have spoken 
the way Sergeant Brooks did. L[e 
was a good man and he was busted 
for drunkenness a month later — 
but that’s the way the war was. 

“Attaboy, Lieutenant,” someone 
called. “Who said Lieutenant Pul- 
ham wears lace drawers?” 

“That will do, men,” I said. 
TJere had already been too much 
joking about my Harvard accent. 

“Jesus,” someone called. “Here 
they come. Lieutenant!” 

The whole thing has always been 
a blur to me of physical weariness 
and physical fear, and, anyway, I 
have always been skeptical of the 
word of anyone who has been able 
to give a clear account of an in¬ 
fantry combat. At one place they 
got as near as 20 feet and we stood 
up throwing grenades at each other, 
like boys in a snowball fight. Then 
they crawled back and tried it again 
half an hour later, but they never 


pushed in seriously, because they 
must have thought they could get 
us eventually without undue loss. 
As it was we lost more than 50 men. 
The whole thing was a mess, be¬ 
cause they could have finished us 
with one good rush, but I suppose 
they did not want to die any more 
than we did. During the night we 
found an unguarded path to the 
river and got away. 

The war smashed a lot of things 
that I used to dej^end on. Actually 
it was not so much the war itself as 
the new human contacts. I hated 
nearly every minute of the war, and 
still hate it. I have never been able 
to understand all the sentimental 
talk about a week’s leave in Paris, 
where you used to be cheated by 
fatherly cab drivers and pursued 
by prostitutes. But I’ll never forget 
the men in my company; there were 
farm boys, Italians from the New 
York slums, factory workers, .sons 
of small-town shopkeepers — but 
we all had a common point of view 
then, difficult to analyze, which 
was expressed in bawdy songs and 
jokes; and incredible as it may 
seem, a common something which 
you might call decency. The mem¬ 
bers of A Company even when they 
were drunk and disorderly were all 
nice boys, once you got to know 
them. It surprised me to realize 
that most of them were braver and 
more generous than the crowd I 
knew at St. Swithin’s and Harvard. 

That’s what made it so hard to 
get back in the old groove after the 



128 


THE reader's digest 


August 


war. It was like trying to put 
together the pieces of a broken 
plate. 

T he day I was discharged in New 
York I went to the Waldorf 
with $400 of back pay and with 
what was left of my belongings tied 
up in a bedding roll. My trunk had 
got lost, and I had only the soiled 
uniform which I was wearing. The 
clerk at the marble desk glanced at 
my bedding roll. 

“I’ll have to ask you to pay in 
advance,” he said, and I handed 
him a $100 bill. 

“Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ll get 
some other clothes tomorrow.” 

“I suppose you’ve just come in, 
Lieutenant,” the clerk said. “Well, 
it was quite a war.” 

“Yes, it was quite a war,” I said. 
Up on the eighth floor the bell¬ 
boy put my bedding roll on a stand 
and opened the window. “Is there 
anything else you want, sir?” he 
asked. 

“You can run me a hot bath,” I 
said. “And you can get me a Scotch- 
and-soda and an order of oatmeal 
and cream.” 

“Oatmeal?” he repeated. 

“Go ahead and get it,” I said. 
“Oatmeal, and half a dozen oys¬ 
ters.” 

I do not know why my mind had 
been dwelling so long on this com¬ 
bination. There had been a good 
deal of discussion about what we 
would do when we got out of the 
Army, and I was only doing what I 


wanted. I kept thinking th^t I had 
better make the most of it, that 
this might be my last chance be¬ 
fore going back to my old brokerage 
job in Boston. 

Somehow I didn’t feel like tele¬ 
phoning the family, but of course 
it was the right thing to do, so I 
put in the call to Boston. 

It was Hugh, our butler, who 
answered the phone. I heard his 
voice with a blank sort of amaze¬ 
ment that he could still be alive. 

“Is Father in, Hugh?” I asked. 
“It’s Mister Harry.” Then I heard 
Hugh calling at the top of his voice 
and then Father was speaking. 

“Where are you, Harry?” he 
called. “Are you all right?” 

It seemed incredible to me that 
he could not have understood that 
I was all right if I was at the Wal¬ 
dorf. I tried to imagine him by the 
telephone in the library. 

“How’s Mother?” I said. “How’s 
Mary?” 

“Now listen,” Father called. 
“Get the midnight train.” 

“I can’t,” I said. “I’ve got to get 
some clothes. I’ll be up tomorrow.” 

“Never mind the clothes,” Fa¬ 
ther shouted. “Get the train.” 

“I can’t,” I said. “There’resome 
things I have to do.” 

He would not have understood it 
if I had told him that I wanted a 
short time by myself, that I was 
trying to pick up the pieces. After 
we had hung up I thought of Bill 
King, an old college friend who had 
been working on a New York news- 





MARVIN MYLES 


izg 


paper when he enlisted. Yes, I must 
see Bill, if he was back. He an¬ 
swered the telephone himself; his 
voice was sharp and impatient. 

“Bill,” I said, “it’s Harry.” 

“Well, it’s about time you got 
back,” Bill said. “Where are you?” 

I asked him if he would come 
over and spend the night in the 
other bed. I told him there were a 
lot of things I wanted to talk about, 
and he came. 

1 was worried, when he arrived, 
about our being able to pick up 
something where we had left it off, 
because he looked like the people 
1 had seen out on the street, very 
clean and prosperous. There wa^- 
just a moment of constraint. Then 
J was sure he was glad to see me. 

“Well, what are you sitting up 
here for?” Bill asked. “On your 
first night back? Let’s go out and 
see the town.” 

“It’s funny,” I said. “I don’t 
want to see anything just yet.” 

He seemed to know the way I 
felt. He sat down and lighted a 
cigarette and in a minute every¬ 
thing was simple. 

“So they put you into the Half 
Moon, did they?” he asked. 

“It was a good division,” I said. 

“ Don’t tell me that all the offi¬ 
cers and men were fine fellows.” 

“They were, Bill, really, when 
you got to know them.” 

Bill began to laugh. “I bet you 
learned a lot of bad habits,” he 
said. “Go ahead and tell me how 
you won the war.” 


“Let’s not talk about it.” 

“All right,” Bill said. “It’s 
funny how some people act when 
they get back. You’ll get over it in 
a week or t^o.” 

“I suppose so,” I said. “You 
know. Bill, I don’t seem to want to 
go home.” 

“You must have had quite a 
shaking up,” Bill said; “but if you 
don’t want to go back, why should 

“What else can I do?” I asked. 

“Now, don’t make me cry,” 
Bill answered. “You can get a job. 
I’ll get you one here in New Tork 
tomorrow.” 

I sat for a while considering. It 
must have seemed simple to him, 
but it was not .simple to me. 

“Where can you get me one?” I 
asked. 

“Where I’m working,” Bill said. 
“The advertising business. I’ll see 
Bullard. I’m in strong with Bul¬ 
lard.” 

“But I don’t know anything 
about it,” I said. 

“Harry,” Bill told me, “nobody 
there knows anything about it 
either. Look at this.” He pulled a 
newspaper clipping out of his in¬ 
side pocket and handed it to me. 

The man for whom we are seek¬ 
ing will preferably not have written 
advertising copy, but will have had 
a college education and will possess 
a serious and pleasing personality, 
combined with a sense of taste and 
form. For such a man there is a defi¬ 
nite opportunity. 



THE reader's digest 


ISO 

“Bullard had me write it,” said 
Bill. “You’ll do as well as anybody 
else. Do you want it or don’t 

A year ago it woul<f not have 
seemed possible. 

“All right,” I said at last. “I’ll 
try it. But there must be something 
the matter with me not to want to 
go home.” 

“ 7 ’ry to act your age,” said Bill. 
“This war has taught a lot of peo¬ 
ple that it isn’t worth while living 
if you can’t do what you want. 
How you gonna keep ’em down on 
the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?” 

“ But 1 wasn’t down on the farm,” 
I said. “I had everything.” 

Bill waved his hand toward the 
window. 

“You listen to me,” he said. 
“You don’t know what’s going on 
outside there — labor trouble. Com¬ 
munism, economic upset. No one 
knows what’s going to happen, but 
you can be damned well .sure of just 
one thing.” He paused and pointed 
his finger at me. “You were brought 
up in a certain tiny, superfluous 
segment that is going to be non¬ 
existent. You say you were given 
everything, and what does it 
amount to? Not to a bucket of 
slops.” 

He made me angry, but he con¬ 
tinued before I could stop him. 

“Put it this way. You and your 
little crowd — you’ve been like 
bees in a beehive doing everything 
by instinct, not bothering about 
the rest of the world.” 


August 

“You used to like our beehive,” 
1 said. 

“Of course I liked it,” Bill an¬ 
swered. “It was a nice comfortable 
beehive, but they’re going to smoke 
it out. I like your father and mother 
and all the other bees, but you’ve 
got to get out of there, Harry.” 

“Let’s talk about something 
else,” I said. 

Something Basic 

W HEN I WAS halfway over to 
the office building near Forty- 
second Street next morning I should 
certainly have turned back, except 
that I could not let Bill down after 
he had made all the arrangements. 
I was still in my uniform. The ele¬ 
vator let me out in a large reception 
room, with a handsome Persian 
carpet and some red leather chairs. 
Behind a girl seated at a Jacobean 
table was a wall of richly bound 
books and a fireplace with artificial 
coals. On top of the bookcase was a 
bronze plaque which read “Refer¬ 
ence Lihrary, J. T. Bullard, Inc.” 
Until I saw the girl at the table I 
had almost forgotten how very 
pretty American girls were. She 
looked up at me and smiled. 

“Oh, yes,” she said; “Mr. King 
said you were coming. I’ll call him,” 
and she reached for the telephone. 

“Hello, Harry,” Bill said, coming 
out of a side door. “Looking at the 
books?” As a matter of fact, I had 
been looking at the girl at the table, 
thinking of something to say to her 



MARVIN MYLES 


mi 

that was casual, yet merry. I was 
wishing that I could be like Bill, al¬ 
ways with a ready remark. 

He took me through a large room, 
full of desks and typewriters, to a 
partition in back. “Now for God’s 
sake be natural. Bullard’s waiting 
for you.” 

Mr. Bullard was sitting behind 
an antique Italian table. When we 
came in he pushed his chair back 
and stood up. He looked like a pro¬ 
fessor about to deliver a lecture, ex¬ 
cept that he looked more prosper¬ 
ous. His double-breasted gray suit 
was beautifully cut. 

“Draw up a chair for Mr. Pul- 
ham, William,” Mr. Bullard said. 
“Will you have a cigarette, Mr. 
Pul ham?” 

“No, thank you, sir,” I said. 

“He doesn’t mean that,” Bill 
said. “He’d like a cigarette.” 

Mr. Bullard opened a silver box 
on the table. 

“Now, William tells me,” Mr. 
Bullard said, “that you would like 
to work with us. I hope you noticed 
the preposition — with us, not for 
us. We all work together here, a 
great big team — aren’t we, Wil¬ 
liam?” 

“That’s exactly what I was tell¬ 
ing him last night,” Bill said. “A 
great big team.” 

Mr. Bullard stabbed into the air 
with his forefinger. 

“It’s team spirit that counts,” 
he said. “I am just playing with 
words, you understand. You can 
comprehend my next simile, having 


been in the Service. We all go over 
the top for an idea. Now would 
this sort of thing appeal to you, 
Mr. Pulham?” 

“I don’t know,” I said. “I don’t 
know anything about it, sir.” 

Mr. Bullard looked out of the 
window for a while. 

“It’s something in your favor,” 
he said. “It is better to write on a 
fresh page.” 

“He’s willing to give up a good 
job just to try this,” Bill said. 

“Yes,” said Mr. Bullard, “I 
know, I know. Has he seen Walter 
Kaufman yet? What is Walter’s 
reaction ? ” 

“I’ll go out and get him,” Bill 
said. He returned with a red-faced, 
solid-looking man. 

“Oh, Walter,” Mr. Bullard said, 
“this is Mr. Pulham.” 

Mr. Kaufman pivoted on his 
heel and faced me. His eyes were a 
pale blue, and his mouth was grim. 

“How are you, Pulham?” he 
said. 

“Walter,” Mr. Bullard asked, 
“just playing with words, what is 
your first immediate reaction to¬ 
ward Mr. Pulham?” 

“You mean without any thought?” 
Mr. Kaufman asked. 

“Just a snap judgment,” Mr. 
Bullard said. 

“Mr. Bullard,” said Mr. Kauf¬ 
man, “there is something basic 
there.” 

“Nothing like an immediate re¬ 
action,” said Mr. Bullard. “Let me 
see — today is Wednesday. You 



132 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


might talk to Mr. Pulham, Walter, 
and have him come on Monday.” 

“You’d better come out with me, 
Pulham,” Mr. Kaufman said. He 
led us into a smaller office and sat 
down at a flat-topped desk. 

“All right,” he said. “Monday 
morning at nine. That’s all.” 

“Don’t you want to ask me any¬ 
thing more?” I asked. 

“No,” he replied. “Show him 
the Copy Department, King.” 

Bill took me by the arm and 
steered me down an aisle through 
the main office. 

“They can’t hire people that 
way,” I said. 

“Oh,” Bill answered, “can’t 
they?” 

I was confused, but my admira¬ 
tion for Bill was growing. He had a 
confident, almost benign manner 
that seemed to hint that he was be¬ 
yond all ordinary office routine. 

“Over in those offices,” Bill said, 
waving his hand, “are the repre¬ 
sentatives who handle the clients.” 

I learned later that they led the 
dangerous life of palace favorites, 
as the possibility that one of them 
might leave at any moment, taking 
the “account” with him, made 
each of them a potential menace. 

“Over there is the Media De¬ 
partment,” Bill said; “college boys, 
trying to make good.” I did not 
know what he meant by media. 
“The Art Department is over 
there, and the layout men are over 
there. J. T. pays those boys.” 

“What are layout men?” I asked. 


“Idea artists,” Bill said. “Never 
mind about it now. And over here 
is the Copy Department. That’s 
where we work, and don’t you stick 
your nose out of the Copy Depart¬ 
ment without me. No one better see 
much of you for a while.” 

“But what am I going to do?” I 
asked. 

Bill smiled pontifically. 

“Didn’t I tell you?” he asked. 
“You’re my assistant. You’re going 
to follow me around And carry my 
tools. You don’t mind, do you?” 

“No,” I said, “of course not.” 

“It’s just a way to start, my 
boy,” Bill said. “Now, the Copy 
Department is divided into small 
rooms to promote thought. That’s 
one of J. T.’s ideas. We’re respon¬ 
sible to Bullard and Kaufman. 
Don’t take any backwash from 
anybody else. Be genial and coop¬ 
erative, but no backwash. Here’s 
our cell.” 

There were two desks, the flat 
tops of which could fold back and 
expose a typewriter. The one near 
the window must have been Bill’s 
because it was vacant. The second 
desk was in a corner near the door. 
A girl was bending over it, writing 
on a yellow sheet of paper with a 
soft lead pencil. Her ankles were 
locked tightly together under her 
swivel chair, and one of her high- 
heeled slippers was half off, dis¬ 
playing the heel of a golden-brown 
stocking. I do not know why I re¬ 
member such a little thing as the 
heel half out of the slipper. 



MARVIN MYLES 


^33 


ig4i 


“Well,” Bill said, “here we are. 

They’ll move in something for you 

to sit at. Thank God, there won’t 

be room for anvbodv else.” 

¥ • 

The girl straightened up and 
pushed back a stray wisp of hair, 
glancing at my uniform. 

“Is that marine going to come in 
here too?” she asked Bill. 

“Yes,” said Bill. “The whole 
U. S. Army is camping here. This 
is Harry Pulham, Marvin Myles.” 

“Is he a friend of yours?” she 
asked. “He doesn’t look it.” 

“Aren’t you going to shake 
hands with him?” Bill said. 

She held out her hand. Her 
mouth was large and the corners o<f 
her eyes wrinkled when she smiled. 

“Well, hello,” she said. 

There was a silence and I felt it 
was up to me to say something. 

There was a pencil drawing on 
her desk, a quick sketch of a girl in 
negligee, looking at her legs. Under¬ 
neath was printed: “You too can 
have stockings of sheer beauty.” 

“Is that picture an advertise¬ 
ment?” I asked. 

“It’s a layout,” she answered. 

“This is all new to Harry,” Bill 
told her. 

“My God,” said Miss Myles, 
“is he another of J. T.’s ideas? 
Have you seen what’s just been 
sent in?” She pointed to a printed 
sign on the wall. 

'‘'Let each wordy' I read, "bow^ 
ever bumbley he an arrow pointed by 
the barb of thought and feathered 
with the wings of beauty y 


“That Yale boy with the squint 
is going around tacking them up,” 
she said. 

Bill nodded. “It doesn’t look 
bad, does it?” he said. “I turned in 
that thought.” 

Marvin Myles stood up, walked 
to a green tin cupboard, anti put on 
her coat. 

“Well, I can’t stand any more 
on an empty stomach,” she said. 
She glanced at me. “ I’ll see you 
later, I suppose.” 

Bill sat on the edge of his viesk 
with his hands in his pockets and 
he seemed to have forgotten me 
entirely. 

“What does she do?” I asked. 

“Who?” Bill asked. 

“Miss Myles,” I said. 

“Women’s copy,” Bill said. “She 
went to the University of Chicago. 
Wait a minute. I’ve got to dictate 
a memorandum.” He hurried out 
of the room. 

I had always considered that col¬ 
lege was a handicap for girls. Miss 
Myles made me nervous, like ev¬ 
erything else in the office. 1 looked 
at the drawing on her desk of the 
girl and her stockings.Then I found 
myself reading what she had writ¬ 
ten beneath it: 

' A SWISH and then a rinse. That’s 
the Coza way. Try this two-minute 
test yourself tonight. Wash one pair 
of stockings with ordinary soap 
flakes; then into clean, warm water 
drop a pinch of Coza. Watch the 
snowy whiteness dissolve to lathery 
foam. 



THE reader’s digest 


August 


m 

It all sounded cheap and unim¬ 
portant. I was unable to read any 
more of the copy because Bill came 
back with a slip of paper in his 
hand. 

“Mercury Clock Account,” he 
read. “The clock is a factory which 
handles the most precious of all 
commodities — Time. Suggest this 
thought can be enlarged with lay¬ 
out of factory and Mercury line in 
the foreground. Headline — One 
Tiny Jeweled Wheel Turns Right 
Million Dollars’ Worth of Ma¬ 
chinery.” 

Bill opened the green steel cup¬ 
board and took out his hat. 

“Would you stop to read that or 
wouldn’t you?” he asked. 

“1 wouldn’t,” I said. 

“All right,” Bill said. “Let’s go 
out now. I’ll see you to your train.” 

Out on Fifth Avenue Bill linked 
his arm through mine. 

“Bill,” I said, “1 don’t think 
I’m going to be any good at it.” 

“Don’t worry,” Bill said. “You 
stick to me. It’ll take you out of 
yourself.” 

Then all at once I felt very grate¬ 
ful to him. 

“I don’t know how to thank 
you. Bill,” I said. “You’re sure it 
won’t be too much for you, having 
me in there?” 

“Hell, no,” Bill said. “Now, lis¬ 
ten, Harry. You’re coming back on 
Monday, remember. Don’t let your 
family change your mind.” 

“Bill,” I asked, “what’s Coza?” 

“It’s soap,” Bill said. 


jMe Draw a Diagram 

N THE CLUB Car of the train I 
saw a familiar face. 

“Bo-jo,” I called to him; “Bo-jo 
Brown! ” 

Bo-jo crumpled his paper noisily 
and sprang up. 

“Where did you come from?” 
he called, and he sat down beside 
me. His voice was so loud that 
everyone turned to look at us. 

“I just got bacH,” I said, “just 
coming home.” 

“Porter,” Bo-jo called, “fetch 
out two Scotch-and-sodas. Do you 
know what’s happening? The whole 
damned country' is going dry. So 
vou got to France, did you?” 
“Yes,” I said. 

“Well, it was a great war, wasn’t 
it?” Bo-jo said. “If you amounted 
to anything they never let you get 
to the front. Did you notice how 
that was ? Did you get to the front ? ” 

“Yes,” I answered. 

“Well, I guess they didn’t think 
muchof y’^ou,”Bo-jolaughed. “Now, 
take me. I was in the best damned 
outfit and just when we were get¬ 
ting on the train, what happened? 

I got orders to be physical director 
in a new division. My God, what I 
said to them! But it didn’t do any 
good. The whole lot of us went to a 
physical directors' school. There 
was Siegel from Brown, and Dun¬ 
bar from Yale — the one who fum¬ 
bled on the six-yard line. What 
happened to you?” 

“Well,” I began, “I was in the 



MARVIN MVLES 


jg4l 

Half Moon Division — infantry,** 
but Bo-jo did not listen. 

“Did I tell you that Dunbar was 
there? It was a great experience — 
the war.” 

“Yes,” I said. “ It sort of changed 
me somehow. I’here’s something 
about seeing people getting killed —” 
but Bo-jo did not listen. 

“You remember Dunbar, don’t 
you ? That play in the Yale game?” 

“What play?” 1 asked. 

Bo-jo looked at me and scowled. 

“ 'file play when Dunbar dropped 
the ball and when I recovered. 
Wait. I’ve got a pencil. I^t me 
draw a diagram. ...” 

He went over the whole play iii 
detail, then sighed reminiscently. 

“To hell with Yale,” he said. 

“That’s right,” I said. “To hell 
with Yale.” 

“And it’s certainly time you got 
back and got in touch with things, 
ril see a lot of you now you’re 
back in Boston.” 

It was the first time I had had 
to face it, and I cleared mv throat. 

“As a matter of fact,” I said, 
“I'll be working in New York. I’m 
going into the advertising business.” 

“The advertising business!” From 
the way Bo-jo Brown looked at me 
I could tell what he was thinking. 
“Suppose you start advertising a 
cake of soap or a diaper pin!” 
Bo-jo laughed so that everyone in 
the car stopped talking. “My God,” 
he said, “wait till I tell the boys! 
You can’t do that.” I was not at all 
sure I could either. 


'35 

W HEN I got to the house. Moth¬ 
er’s first words were, “Dar¬ 
ling! How thin you look and what 
a dirty uniform! ” 

Father, I remember, was almost 
shy. He kept looking at me cu¬ 
riously and half respectfully, as 
though I were a stranger. He seemed 
very anxious to know if I had been 
in any fighting. I could not see 
why it was important to him, until 
I found that other fathers were 
telling anecdotes about their sons. 
Father and Mother looked older 
and smaller, but my sister Mary 
was entirely grown up — tall, dark 
and quite pretty. 

“Harry,” she asked me, “did 
you kill any Germans?” 

“Yes,” I said. “As a matter of 
fact, I got the D.S.O.” 

I was rather ashamed of myself 
when I alluded to it, and I only 
did so because I wanted them to be 
pleased. I went upstairs and found 
the medal and the citation in my 
bedding roll and gave them to 
Mother. 

“I want you to understand,” I 
said, “that it doesn’t really mean 
anything.” I had to go on now that 
I had started. “If you get me a 
pencil and paper I’ll show you. We 
were just out there.” 

It made me feel sick inside to 
tell about it and it reminded me 
of Bo-jo on the train. ... If it 
had not been for the medal I do 
not believe that I should have got 
back to New York, or seen Marvin 
Myles again. 



136 


THE READER S DIGEST August 


I JMLalce Jify Letter 

URiNG my first weeks in the 
J. T. Bullard agency, I was in 
a mental fog. I could not seem to 
get anything through my mind in 
any proper proportion and Bill did 
not have much time to help me, 
because he was generally in confer¬ 
ence over the Coza account. Inhere 
were Coza Flakes and also several 
grades of toilet .soap. Bill and Mr. 
Kaufman were working on one of 
these, trying to make it into a soap 
which would appeal to men. 

“There’s no reason for you to 
understand it,” Bill said. “It will 
come over you in time in a great 
flash of light. Now, here’s what 
you are going to do,” he went on. 
“Here’s a field report of the wash¬ 
rooms in the hotels and men’s 
clubs of five key cities. It tells 
whether they use liquid soap or 
soap powder or soap cakes, and the 
brands. You’re to tabulate the sur¬ 
vey on this big sheet. Just sit here 
and keep tabulating.” 

It was a clerical job, one at which 
I was conscientious and industrious, 
and I found myself becoming in¬ 
terested in hotel lavatories and in 
the types of soap containers tacked 
near the washbowls. After two weeks 
the thing became such an obsession 
with me that my mind was loaded 
with interesting facts about the 
soap they used in the Elks’ Club in 
Davenport, Iowa, or at the Com¬ 
mercial Hotel at Baton Rouge. 

I used to start in with the soap 


tabulation every morning right there 
next to Marvin Myles. I used to 
say good morning to her and that 
was about all. It must have been 
sometime in May, after I had been 
in New York about three weeks, 
that I was sent out for a day with 
her. I had just hung up my hat 
when Bill called me. 

“Kaufman wants to see you,” 
Bill said. Since the day I had met 
him I had hardly laid'eyes on Mr. 
Kaufman, or on Mr. Bullard either. 

“Is he going to fire me. Bill.?” 
I asked. 

“He just wants to see yon,” Bill 
said. “Act as though you were in a 
hurry.” 

Mr. Kaufman was sitting behind 
his neat, bare desk. Marvin Myles 
was sitting near the wall, listening 
while Mr. Kaufman interviewed an 
artist. They had propped up a 
pen-and-ink drawing on the table 
in front of Mr. Kaufman, a full- 
length figure of a young man in a 
heavy ulster, carr)'ing field glasses 
and a Yale banner. When I came in 
Mr. Kaufman was scowling at the 
picture and the artist was scowling 
at Mr. Kaufman. 

“I can’t tell you what’s the mat¬ 
ter with it, Mr. Elsmere,” Mr. 
Kaufman was saying. “It simply 
doesn’t convey the idea. For one 
thing you don’t see the buttons and 
the stitching.” 

Mr. Elsmere look annoyed. 

“May I ask you,” he inquired, 
“if you can ever see the stitching 
on a coat at such a distance?” 




1^41 


MARVIN MYLES 




“What do I care about distance?” 
Mr. Kaufman said. “I’m not pay¬ 
ing you for distance.” 

Then he saw me and scowled at 
me too. “What do you want?” he 
said. 

"I was told you’d sent for me, 
Mr. Kaufman,” I said. 

“Oh,” said Mr. Kaufman, “yes. 
You’re Pulham, aren’t you? Well, 
sit over there by Miss Myles; No, 
don’t sit there. Come over and look 
at this picture. Here’s a completely 
new reaction, Mr. Elsmere. What 
do you think of when you see that 
picture, Pulham?” 

“I don’t know, sir,” I said. “I 
don’t know what you mean.” 

Mr. Kaufman thumped his fist 
down on the desk. 

“There, you have it!” he said. 
“That answers it, doesn’t it? He 
sees your picture, that you’re charg¬ 
ing us a thousand dollars for, and 
he doesn’t know what it means.” 

Mr. Elsmere looked at me and 
the top of his bald head grew red. 

“ Perhaps he hasn’t any brains,” 
he said. 

Mr. Kaufman pointed his finger 
at Mr. Elsmere. 

“Do you think for one moment 
that the average person who sees 
this is going to have any brains? 
My God, Mr. Elsmere, we’re not 
trying to be intellectual. Now, look 
at that picture again, Pulham. 
Which is more important in it, the 
man ob the coat?” 

They both seemed to be hanging 
on my reply. 


“The man is more important,” I 
said. 

“There you are,” said Mr. Kauf¬ 
man. “That settles it. The coat is 
showing off the man. You must 
put more thought into it, Mr. Els¬ 
mere. Put a girl beside the man. 
Have her looking at that coat. Have 
the breeze blowing back the bot¬ 
tom of it, showing the inner lining. 
Take that fiag out of his hand and 
put his hand in the big roomy 
pocket. Have the extra-size collar 
turned up around his ears. Have 
it snowing. It’s the coat, not the 
man. The girl wishes to God she 
had the coat. She can see him lux¬ 
uriate in the warm fleecy lining. If 
you want to do business with us, 
Mr. Elsmere, you’ll have to think. 
You can take it away now.” 

Mr. Kaufman turned toward me 
unsmilingly. 

“Now, draw up a chair. You un¬ 
derstand, don’t you. Miss Myles — 
a quick cross-section of reaction, 
something warm, something hu¬ 
man, something I can read aloud? 
Just explain it to Mr. Pulham. 
Then I’ll know if you have my 
idea.” 

Marvin Myles turned in her chair 
to look at me and Mr. Kaufman 
folded his hands. 

“It’s on the survey for Coza 
Flakes,” she said. “Mr. Kaufman 
said you could come with me.” 

“It will be more apt to make 
them talk,” Mr. Kaufman said. 
“Now, what are you going to do, 
Mis,s Myles?” 



THE reader’s digest 


^ 3 ^ 


August 


“I’m going to ring the bell,** 
Marvin said. 

“And when the door is opened 
Mr. Pulham is going to put down 
the suitcase so it will be hard to 
close the door,*’ Mr. Kaufman said. 
“Now, explain your approach. 
Miss Myles.” 

“ Well,” Marvin Myles answered, 
“I’m simply going to say, ‘Good 
morning. We haven’t come here to 
sell anything. We wonder if you 
would mind giving us a few mo¬ 
ments to talk about your cleaning 
problem. We have a remarkable 
new soap. We want to give you 
some, to try.”' 

“And when she says that,” Mr. 
Kaufman said, “ you puli a sample 
box out of your pocket, Pulham, 
and hand it to the lady. Go ahead. 
Miss Myles.” 

“Then I say,” Marvin contin¬ 
ued, “‘I wonder if you could give 
me something soiled to wash?’ Do 
1 have to do that, Mr. Kaufman?” 

“It will be a great experience for 
you,” Mr. Kaufman said. “You 
have the question form?” 

“Yes,” said Marvin. 

“Well, try to make it informal, a 
great big party, a lot of fun. But 
keep your mind on the consumer 
reaction. You follow me, don’t you, 
Pulham?” 

“You mean we’re going to knock 
on somebody’s door and ask if we 
can wash something?” I said. Mar¬ 
vin Myles glanced at me. 

“I’ll tell him all about it,” she 
said. “We’ll start right away.” ^ 


“Try to get 25 reactions,” Mr. 
Kaufman said, “and make up the 
report tonight. I’ll be here working 
on footwear.” 

“All right.” Marvin turned to 
me. “Get the suitcase and I’ll meet 
you at the elevator.” 

I got an impression, outside, that 
she was angry. “Come on,” she 
said. “Come on.” We began to 
walk toward the subway. She walked 
fast, staring straight ahead of her, 
chin up and shoulders hack. 

“So I can ask for the dirtiest 
thing in the house to wash, can I?” 
she was saying. 

“Where are we going?” I asked. 

“You and I,” she said, “are go¬ 
ing to the Bronx. We’re not going 
to accomplish anything except to 
make Mr. Kaufman happy. He 
thought I wouldn’t do it. I’ll do it 
all right.” 

“You mean we’re going to tene¬ 
ment houses to wash clothes?” 

She looked at me again. “I won¬ 
der j” she said, “do you know why 
you’re coming with me, or don’t 
you?” 

“No,” I said. “It all sounds 
queer to me.” 

“All right,” she answered. “You’re 
coming with me to see that I go 
through with it. He thinks I might 
make the whole thing up.” 

When we got off the subway we 
walked into the dingy vestibule of a 
yellow brick apartment house and 
examined a row of bells. • 

“Any of them will do,” Marvin 
said. “We’ll try Frenkel.” 



MARVIN MYLES 


1941 

She rang the bell and a buzzer let 
us into the main hallway where the 
air was full of confined odors. Down 
near the end of the hallway I saw a 
fat, dark-haired woman clad in a 
soiled flannel wrapper peering out 
of a door. 

“Good morning,” Marvin said. 
“I hope we are not interrupting 
you.” 

“What is it you want ? ” she asked. 
“Mr. Frenkel is not at home.” 

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Frenkel,” 
Marvin said. “We’re not trying to 
sell anything.” 

“Then why are you here for?” 
Mrs. Frenkel asked. “You better 
get out or I’ll call the police.” 

“Now, Mrs. Frenkel,” I said, 
“that isn’t the way to talk.” Mrs. 
Frenkel’s eyes grew round and her 
loose mouth fell open. “We just 
came to ask you,” I went on, “ if we 
could wash the dirtiest piece of 
clothing that you have, Mrs. 
Frenkel.” 

Mrs. Frenkel made an inarticu¬ 
late sound and began stepping back¬ 
ward. “My God,” she asked, “are 
you crazy?” 

“I don’t blame you for asking,” 
I said. “ I thought it sounded crazy 
too when I was sent out here. They 
want to see what people think of 
this new soap.” 

“My God,” said Mrs. Frenkel; 
“ you ain’t never washed anything.” 

“That’s perfectly true,” I said. 

"My God,” said Mrs. Frenkel, 
"oh, my God!” And she backed 
farther away from the door. I fol¬ 


lowed her into a sitting room, put 
the suitcase on a chair and took out 
a box of Coza Flakes. Then I took 
off my coat and rolled up my 
sleeves. 

“I’m all ready,” I said, “if you’ll 
show me the laundry.” 

“The laundry!” said Mrs. Fren¬ 
kel. Then so meth i ng m ade her 1 augh. 
“If you want to be crazy we can 
all of us go nuts. You wait here 
until I get the dishes out of the 
sink.” 

She waddled out, and I saw Mar¬ 
vin staring at me. 

“What’s the matter?” I asked. 
“Have I done anything wrong?” 

“No,” she said. “I just didn’t 
know there was anything like you 
and neither did Mrs. Frenkel.” 

I was only thinking of doing an 
unpleasant job as well as I could. 
We stood with Mrs. Frenkel in the 
kitchen, while she watched me 
pouring some Coza Flakes into a 
pan of hot water. Then I washed 
a pair of Mr. Frenkel’s socks, which 
certainly did need washing. Like 
most things, once you got started 
it was not so bad. 

“Let me do those,” Marvin said. 

“>ro,” I told her. “It wouldn’t 
look right.” 

Everything between Mrs. Fren¬ 
kel and Marvin and me became 
quite agreeable after that, so it 
seemed all right to ask Mrs. Fren¬ 
kel if she did not have any friends 
in the building who would like 
something washed. Mrs. Frenkel 
said that she did have friends — 



140 


THE reader's digest 


August 


as soon as she put on her dress — 
and she left us in the kitchen. 

“Harry,” Marvin said, “I’m 
sorry I was cross.” 

I was a little confused that she 
called me by my first name. 

“Harry,” .she said again, “we’re 
going to have a good time.” And 
we did. 

At lunchtime in a drugstore she 
asked: “Would you mind telling 
me what made you go into Bul¬ 
lard’s? You didn’t have to, did 
vou?” 

I found myself telling her more 
about myself than was really neces¬ 
sary, and answering strange ques¬ 
tions. She wanted to know all about 
our butler Hugh, and about dances 
at the club and about Westwood, 
our place in Brookline. 

“You’ve had everything I’ve al¬ 
ways wanted,” she said, “ and now 
you don’t want it.” 

“What sort of things?” I asked. 

She sighed and we looked at each 
other. 

“Money,” she said, “security. 
I’m going to get it someday. Some¬ 
day I’ll be a partner in the agency. 
I’m good. I know I’m good.” 

I T WAS six o’clock when we got 
back to the office and there were 
darkshadowsunder her eyes. Nearly 
all the desks were deserted, but 
there was a light in Mr. Kaufman’s 
room. Mr. Kaufman was in his 
shirt sleeves, looking at proofs of 
footwear advertising. 

“We made the calls,” Marvin 


Myles said. “I kept the notes. Mr. 
Pulham did the washing.”* 

“Let’s see the notes,” Mr. Kauf¬ 
man said. He ran through the forms 
like a paying teller in a bank. 

“ Did they talk ?”heasked.“ Read 
that to me Miss Myles,” and Mar¬ 
vin picked up the page. 

“It’s the first time,” she read, 
“that I won’t mind when Frenkel 
takes oflF his shoes.” I remembered 
that Mrs. Frenkel had said that, 
but I had not imagined that Mar¬ 
vin had written it. 

“That’s thestuff,”said Mr. Kauf¬ 
man. “Warmth and color. Have 
you got any more like that?” 

“Plenty more,” Marvin said. 

“Well, that’s fine,” said Mr. 
Kaufman. “Make each interview 
into a little story. You’d better get 
going. I’ll be here all night. Just 
wait here a minute, Pulham.” 

Mr. Kaufman did not speak un¬ 
til Marvin closed the door. 

“Now,” he said, “just as man to 
man, Pulham, was there really a 
woman named Frenkel? You see,” 
he explained, “a number of people 
have been trying to get these 
interviews. There’s a temptation to 
rely on the imagination.” 

“You’ll have to take my word 
for it, Mr. Kaufman,” I said. 

“But how did you do it?” 

“ Mrs. Frenkel wanted to call the 
police and I told her she needn’t do 
that,” I said. “I told her I was 
going to do some washing for her. 
That was what you wanted, wasn’t 
it?” 



MARVIN MYLES 


1941 

“And she listened to you?” 

“Why, yes,” I said. “Why 
shouldn’t she?” 

Mr. Kaufman looked interested. 

“Pulham,” he said, “you must 
have a human approach. Now go 
help Miss Myles with the report.” 

When I gt)t back to our cubicle 
Marvin Myles had taken off her 
hat and was beating on the keys of 
her typewriter. 

“Is there anything I can do?” I 
asked. 

First she looked annoyed and 
then she smiled. 

“Don’t look like a babe in the 
woods,” she said. “If you don’t 
take care a robin will come along 
and cover you up with leaves. What 
did Kaufman want?” 

“He kept asking questions about 
Mrs. Frenkel and talking about 
warmth and color.” 

“You must have made an im¬ 
pression on him.” 

“I don’t see why,” I said. 

“Never mind,” she answered. 
“You’ve made an impression on 
me. I thought you were terrible and 
now I like you.” She pulled a sheet 
out of her typewriter. “You can 
go over the grammar of this, and 
then you can give it to Kaufman’s 
secretary to make a clean copy. And 
you’d better go out and get some 
sandwiches and coffee for us. Now, 
don’t talk any more.” 

I had never seen anyone write so 
quickly. As time went on, her lips 
pressed themselves into.a thin, stub¬ 
born line. 


141 

“You can go on home if you 
want,” she said once. “ I can handle 
this. I’m used to it.” 

“No,” I said. “There might be 
something I could do.” 

“All right,” she said. “Get more 
coffee.” 

She finished the report at half-past 
eleven and stretched her arms over 
her head and yawned. 

“Well,” she said, “that’s that. 
God, but I’m tired!” She got up 
and pulled on her hat. “ I’ll see you 
in the morning.” 

“I’m going to sec you home,” I 
told her. 

“Don’t be silly,” she said. 

“It’s late,” I told her. “You 
ought not to go out alone so late.’.’ 

“Oh?” she said. “What do you 
think I generally do?” 

She lived in the seventies, and I 
took her home in a taxi. She leaned 
back with her eyes half-closed, look¬ 
ing at the lights. 

“I’ll have a car of my own some 
day,” she said, “with a chauffeur 
waiting outside when I do night 
work; and I’ll have a mink coat and 
a French maid, and I’ll ask you up 
to dinner.” 

“All right,” I said. 

“And be sure you wear a white 
tie and be sure you behave yourself,” 
she said. “There’ll be lots of inter¬ 
esting people, all the writers and 
artists and people on the stage. 
Well, here we are. Will you come 
up?” She asked me as though it 
were the most natural thing in the 
world. 



142 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


“No, thanks,” I said. “I’ll just 
see that you get in all right.” 

We walked up a flight of brown- 
stone steps into the vestibule and 
she took a bunch of keys out of her 
bag. 

“Curiously enough, I have my 
keys.” 

“WeU,” I said, “good night.” 

“Good night,” and she looked at 
me in the half-light. “Good night,” 
she said, “darling,” and she kissed 
me. 

I had not expected any such thing, 
but somehow she made it seem the 
only correct thing for her to do. 

“Good night,” I said. 

I sent the cab away, because I 
suddenly felt like walking. I have 
never had anything happen to me 
before or since which was just like 
that, I was suddenly more alive 
to everything — the clearness of the 
night and the way the street lamps 
each cut a luminous sphere in the 
darkness. I was sharing something 
with the city. For once in my life 
I was where I wanted to be, a part 
of everything. 

As I say, it all seemed perfectly 
natural. It did not occur to me for 
quite a while that Marvin Myles 
might have been in the habit of 
kissing almost anyone good night 
who took her home. Even when 
it did occur to me, it did not bother 
me. I kept going over, before I went 
to sleep, what she had said and 
what I had said, and I remember 
wondering what I would say to her 
in the morning. 


Bill was at his desk when 1 ar¬ 
rived, but Marvin was not ih yet. 

“What did you do to Kaufman?” 
Bill asked. “He likes your per¬ 
sonality.” 

“Well, I don’t like his,” I said. 

“Neither do I,” Bill answered. 
“But if you’re getting on with 
Kaufman it’s fine. Now, where is 
that tabulation on the washrooms ? 
Bullard wants to see it. Hell is 
going to f>op today.” 

“What’s happened now?” I said. 

“We’re going to sell the Coza 
campaign today,” he said. “It’s 
going to be some party. And what 
do you think the crux of the cam¬ 
paign is going to be? Who do you 
think hit the basic idea?” 

“ I’m sure I don’t know,” I said. 

“Well, I’ll tell you who did,” Bill 
said. “I did. It’s a great big vital 
story. Why does mankind use soap ? ” 

“To clean itself,” I said. 

“Exactly,” said Bill. “And why 
does soap get out dirt?” 

“It washes it out,” I said. 

“And why?” said Bill. “Because 
of an alkaline reaction. And why is 
Coza better than any other soap?” 

“I don’t know why,” I said. “Is 
it?” 

“Frankly,” said Bill, “that’s the 
tough part. Now, why is it better? 
Because the Coza chemists, after 
years of work in the laboratory, 
have developed a cleaning force, an 
imponderable. And what do we call 
that force?” 

“What do we call it?” I asked. 

“We call it Alkalinity Plus,” said 



J 94 I 


MARVIN MYLES 


^43 


Bill. "Try this test today. Wash 
something with an ordinary soap, 
and then wash the same thing 
with Coza. Coza cleans because of 
that added imponderable — Alka¬ 
linity Plus. Hello, Marvin." 

She smiled at us and took off her 
hat and put it in the green steel 
cupboard. 

“Hello,” she said, and our eyes 
met for a moment. 

“They want to see us up front,” 
Bill said. “They're going to use 
Alkalinity Plus.” 

From the way she looked 1 could 
tell there was something important 
in the announcement. 

“Bill,” she said, “Pm awfully 
glad.” 

“And I made it perfectly clear,” 
Bill said, “the idea’s mine, but the 
name’s yours — Alkalinity Plus.” 

Marvin took off her gloves and 
laid them beside her hat. 

“Thanks, Bill,” she said. “When 
did they decide on it?” 

“Just this morning,” Bill an¬ 
swered. “I gave Bullard our idea, 
and it hit him, right in the solar 
plexus. And now we’re going to try 
Alkalinity Plus on the client. Come 
on, Marvin. Bullard’s waiting for 
us.” 

"But, Bill,” I said, “that isn’t 
the way soap cleans. It is due to its 
property of emulsifying fats, not 
due to alkali at all.” 

Bill sat down on the edge of his 
desk. 

"My God,” he said, “where did 
you get that?” 


“It’s in the encyclopedia^*^ I said. 
“I looked it up.” 

Marvin looked at Bill and .scowled. 

“Do you mean to say,” she said, 
“you got that whole idea without 
looking anything up?” 

“I thought you had looked it up,” 
Bill said. “Wait a minute — wait a 
minute. The idea is just as good as 
ever. Here’s the way it’ll go.” Bill 
looked at the ceiling and drew a 
deep breath. 

“For years, for centuries, makers 
of soap have gone on the mistaken 
theory that the cleansing properties 
of soap were derived from free alkali. 
Today modern science has revealed 
a new truth. I.eading chemists know 
today that it’s emulsification that 
cleans — without attacking tender 
hands and fabrics in the washtubs. 
That is why the Coza chemists 
have evolved a soap of a new high 
emulsifying power, based on the 
secret property they call Emul. 
How about that, Marvin ? That has 
eye value — Emul. Coza is rich in 
Emul. That’s why Coza cleans.” 

There was a moment’s silence 
and Marvin sighed. 

“You can talk your way out of 
anything,” she said. 

This shows how quickly Bill’s 
mind could work; he was generous 
too, because he explained to Mr. 
Bullard that I had studied the whole 
theory of .soap in my spare time. 
Mr. Bullard called me to his office 
right after the Coza conference was 
over. 

“Pulham,” he said, “I’m going. 



144 


THE READER'S DIGEST 


August 


t» call you Harry, because youVe 
made your letter today. YouVe 
been a part of the team. Have you 
ever thought how strange it is that 
a great idea is always simple?” 

“No, sir,” I said. 

“I’m just playing with words,” 
Mr. Bullard said, “just playing, 
you understand. We’ve been the 
first to get down to the real essen¬ 
tials of a soap campaign, almost the 
first to consider basically why soap 
cleans. Your friend Bill King thought 
of the general idea, which was in 
the back of my mind all the time, 
but I give him credit for it. Miss 
Myles perfected the idea of the 
chemists working on the formula — 
and as a matter of fact Coza chem¬ 
ists work very hard — and then 
you came in with another su^es- 
tion that soap emulsifies. Mr. Kauf¬ 
man and I finally smoothed these 
ideas and made them presentable. 
We were given the ball to run with 
and we put the ball over. Yes, 
you’ve earned your letters.” 

From that moment I b^an to 
feel at home in the Bullard office. 

I began to understand that tq, sell 
soap it was necessary to endow 
it with some unique quality. What 
was more, before long they per¬ 
suaded themselves that Coza had 
the mysterious, hidden qualities 
with which their imagination had 
endowed it. I am quite sure that 
Bill got himself to believe implicitly 
that the Coza chemists after years 
of patient research had developed 
an element named Emul. . . 


I MUST HAVE begun seeing more 
and more of Marvin Myles wij:h- 
out noticing it much, as spring 
moved on into summer. We used to 
do all sorts of things together, such 
as riding through Central Park in 
one of those Victorias or rowing on 
the lake. Later 1 bought a small 
runabout and I used to take her to 
the Long Island beaches, and be¬ 
fore long she began to worry about 
my clothes. She used to pick out 
neckties for me and she made me 
order three new summer suits, and 
she went with me to get a picnic 
basket so that we could have our 
own lunch if we motored out of 
town on Sundays. I never realized 
to what extent I depended on her 
company. I never thought anything 
about it until one week-end in July 
when I asked for a Saturday off so 
that I could go up to see the family 
at our summer place in North*Har- 
bor. It was the first time since I 
had moved to New York that I had 
seen the family. I had talked to her 
about them a good deal, and 1 re¬ 
member what she said that night, 
when I took her out to dinner. 

“I wish you were coming,” I 
told her. 

“What would they think of me 
if you brought me?” Marvin asked. 

“They would like you,” I said, 
“as soon as they understood you.” 
“What is there to understand?” 
“Nothing, really,” I said. “It’s 
only if you see one type of person 
all your life you judge everyone 
else by that type.” 



MARVIN MYLES 


1941 

She looked at me strangely, and 
then asked, “Have you packed your 
bag?” 

1 told her that I had not, but 
that the train did not leave until 
eleven. 

“Well, Fm going over to see 
that you get everything in,” she 
said. “You’ll be sure to forget 
something.” 

“That’s awfully nice of you,” I 
told her, “but I don’t know what 
people would say about your com¬ 
ing up to my room.” 

“What would they say?” she 
asked. “I have always wanted to 
see your room.” 

' I had rented one of the front 
bedrooms in an old brownstone 
house on Lexington Avenue. The 
furniture was sparse and simple —• 
an iron bed, a bureau with a large 
mirror, a small table and two chairs. 
No one said anything when we went 
upstairs, but I still had an uneasy 
feeling that she should not have 
been there. Marvin took off her hat 
and dropped it with her bag and 
gloves on the table. 

“Where’s your suitcase?” she 
asked. “It’s getting late.” 

Then I noticed that she was look¬ 
ing at the pictures on the bureau. 

“Who's that?” she asked. “Your 
mother?” 

“Yes,” I said, “that’s Mother.” 

“And that’s your father?” she 
asked. 

“Yes,” I said. 

“And who is die girl? Someone 
you haven’t told me about?” 


^45 

“I’ve told you about her,” I 
said. “That’s Mary, my sister.” 

“And what’s this picture?” 

“The boys in my Club,” I said; 
“my Club at Harvard.” 

She leaned her hands on the 
bureau and peered for a while at 
the pictures. 

“All of you is there, isn’t it?” 
she said. “All that you’re going 
back to? It must be queer, being in 
two places at once.” 

“ I don’t know what you’re talk¬ 
ing about,” I answered. “I’m not 
in two places at once.” 

“Where are your shirts and 
socks?” she asked. “If Hugh un¬ 
packs your bag I want him to 
know that you’re neat.” 

It was queer seeing her go over 
my shirts. 

“Now, your evening clothes,” 
she said, “ and now that other suit 
I made you buy. Doesn’t anybody 
do any mending for you here?” 

“The laundry is supposed to,” I 
said. 

“Well, it doesn’t,” she said. “ I’ll 
take that up with you some other 
time.” 

We called a taxicab and she rode 
with me to the station. 

“Harry,” she said, “you’re com¬ 
ing back, aren’t you?” 

“Of course I’m coming back,” I 
said. “I’ll be at the office Monday.” 

“You’re sure?” she said. 

“Yes,” I said, “of course I’m 
sure.” 

She spoke of it again when we 
got to the gate of the night train. 



THE reader’s digest 


146 


August 


*'Be sure you come back,” she 
said. *‘Doii*t let them take you 
away.” 

I did not realize then, or during 
my visit to North Harbor either, 
that I was already in love with 
Marvin Myles. 

I jMust Go Down to the Seas Again 

Y TRAIN reached North Har¬ 
bor at five in the morning. In 
the fresh early light everything pos¬ 
sessed the vague excitement of old 
association, for I had alighted on 
that platform in summers ever since 
I was eight years old. Patrick met 
me in the heavy limousine. I saw 
his round face and his comfortable 
stomach right away, the same Pat¬ 
rick who used to meet us in the 
carryall, but now turned into a 
chauffeur, and not a very good one 
either. 

“Give me them bags, Master 
Harry,” he said. 

I told Patrick I would ride in 
front with him and he told me I 
should do no such thing, because it 
would not look right; I should 
ride in back, but he would lower 
the window so that we could talk. 

“ If you do that,” I said, “ you'll 
pull the wrong rein and drive us 
into a tree. How’s everyone?” 

“Everyone is well,” Patrick said. 
“Praise be to God!” 

“How’s Mother?” 

“Your mother,” Patrick said, 
“ain’t what she used to be.” He 
said they had all been missing me, 
that nothing was the same with me 


away, but I did not want to go into 
that. I was beginning to realize the 
nearer we came to North Harbor, 
how much I had been missing 
them all too, without really know¬ 
ing it. 

When we came to our summer 
place, with luxuriant nasturtiums 
and geraniums in the window 
boxes, Hugh came hurrying down 
the piazza steps and my father, in 
golf trousers, followed him. 

“It’s nice of you to get up so 
early,” I said. 

“No trouble at all,” Father said. 
“You look a little white around the 
gills. You ought to get more exer¬ 
cise.” He took me to the dining 
room, and Hugh came in with 
orange juice. “Mary was coming 
down,” Father said, “but she was 
up late last night. They all keep 
going to those damned movies.” 

“How’s everyone been?” I asked. 

“Your mother isn’t very well,” 
Father said. “And Frank Wilding 
says there’s going to be a slump.” 
He paused and drank some coffee. 
“I’m glad you came here this 
week-end. There’s been a devil of a 
time at the Club.” 

“What’s the matter?” I asked. 

“You can’t believe it,” Father 
said. “They’re going to straighten 
out the dog leg on the 14th hole. 
That’s one of the prettiest, trickiest 
drives in the country, and they’re 
going to straighten it out.” 

“Who is?” I asked. 

“That man Field. They put him 
on the Greens Committee.” 




1941 

“Who is he?’* I asked. 

“That’s it,” Father said. “Just 
who is he? God knows who, except 
that he owns a factory in Ohio, and 
now he thinks he can change the 
14th hole, because he says it’s too 
hard for a normal playen” 

“They ought not to change that 
hole,” I said. 

“Then you’ll come down to the 
meeting before the dance tonight 
and vote, won’t you?” Father said. 
“I tell you, Harry, this place isn’t 
what it used to be.” He looked out 
of the wide plate-glass windows at 
the sea. “It’s the restlessness after 
the war.” His eyes were on me and 
he stroked his graying mustache^ 
“Harry, what the devil is it you 
do in New York?” 

He drummed his fingers on the 
table while I went into the details 
of the Coza soap campaign, which 
sounded out of place in the dining 
room. 

“Thunder!” Father said. “You 
can't like anything like that!” 

“I like it,” I said, “because 
something is happening all the 
time.” 

Father sighed. 

“I can’t follow you. I don’t want 
things to happen. I’ve spent all my 
life trying to fix it so that things 
wouldn’t happen. Well, who do you 
see in New York?” 

“I don’t go out much,” I said. 
“We generafiy work late and I’m 
pretty tired in the evening.” 

“Then you’d better see all your 
old friends, now you’re here. Kay 


H7 

Motford was asking after you. 
What’s the matter, Harry?” 

“Nothing, sir,” I said. 

“Then, don’t look like that,” he 
told me. “I want people to know 
you’re alive. That’s all.” 

The dining room door opened 
and there was Mary in a blue dress 
with white dots. She gave me a 
searching look before she kissed me. 

“You look awfully tired,” she 
said. 

“It’s the train,” I told her. “I 
could never sleep on a train.” 

She walked upstairs with me to 
my room with her arm linked 
through mine. 

“He wasn’t arguing with you, 
was he?” she asked. 

“No,” I said, “just talking.” 

“Because no one’s going to argue 
with you. I’ve taken it up with all 
of them. You’re just going to have 
a good time. Everyone’s been ask¬ 
ing for you.” 

“Who?” I asked. 

“Oh, everyone,” she said. “I 
know a lot of your friends now.” 

All at once I felt like a stranger. 
I did not even care whether my 
friends were interested in me or not. 

Hugh was waiting when Mary 
and I got up to my room, and Hugh 
himself was like a stranger — an 
oldish, flaccid, pompous parasite. 

“Well, well,” said Hugh, “so 
we’re working in the city, are we? 
Advertising! What a thing now for 
a gentleman to do.” 

“Shut up and get me out my golf 
clothes,” I said. 


MARVIN MYLES 



THE reader's digest 




August 


“Well, well,” said Hugh, “listen 
to him. Miss Mary. And Mr. Harry 
used to be a little gentleman.” 

“ You attend to your business,” I 
said. “ You’re an old fake and you 
always were a fake.” 

We were talking as we had al¬ 
ways talked, but somehow, though 
I tried to use the same old tone, my 
voice had an unfamiliar edge to it. 
Instead of grinning back at me 
Hugh’s face grew red. 

“If you want anything more, 
Master Harry, you have only to 
ring,” he said as he closed the door. 

“Why, Harry,” Mary said, “you 
hurt Hugh’s feelings.” 

“I don’t see why,” I said. “It 
was the way we always used to 
talk.” 

' Mary sat down in an armchair 
near the window and I found my¬ 
self looking at her. She had a sup¬ 
ple, sensuous sort of grace which I 
had never perceived before. “Give 
me a cigarette,” she said, and held 
out a long delicate hand. 

“Are you allowed to smoke?” I 
asked, and she smiled at me. 

“What do you think I am? 
Everybody’s beginning to smoke.” 

“1 suppose that’s true,” I said. 

I was thinking of Marvin Myles. 

“Harry,” she asked, “don’t you 
like us any more?” 

“Now, what under the sun makes 
you say a thing like that?” 

“I wonder,” she said, “if you 
and I will ever be the way we used 
to be? We don't know what to say 
to each other, do we?” 


“That’s silly,” I said. “We’re 
just the same as we ever were. 
You’re still my little sister?’ 

“Maybe a brother and sister 
never can know each other,” Mary 
said. “They’re all so tangled up. 
But it would be fun if we knew 
each other — if I could talk to you 
about boys and you could talk to 
me about girls. Perhaps if we got 
drunk together we could say what 
we really thought.” 

“Now, look here, Mary—” I 
began. 

“There you go,” Mary said. “It 
isn’t any use. But I must tell you 
something. Do you know that 
Mother’s going to try to make you 
stay here? Don’t let her. She makes 
everybody do everything she wants.” 

M iss Percival, Mother’s day 
nurse, was standing in the 
hall in front of Mother’s door. 

“We’ve been waiting for you,” 
Miss Percival said. “We’ve had 
our nap, but we mustn’t talk about 
anything too exciting.” 

“How is she?” I asked. 

“We are really doing very well,” 
she replied. “We’ve been talking 
about our soldier boy, and we’ve 
been waiting for his visit, but we 
must only discuss happy things.” 

Mother was on her chaise longue 
and dressed in a lavender negligee. 

“ Darling,” she said, and she held 
out her arms to me. “Isn’t he 
beautiful, Miss Percival? Now do 
you see why I am proud of my 
boy?” 





MARVIN MYLES 


249 


“Yes,” said Miss Percival. “We 
are very proud of our boy, but we 
must only talk to him for a few 
minutes.” 

“Darling,” Mother said, “are 
you having a good time?” 

“ I am having a fine time,” I said. 
“I’ll see all the old crowd at the 
dance tonight. It’s just as though I 
I’d never been away.” 

“That’s just the way I want it 
to be,” Mother said. “You’ll see 
Kay Motford at the dance, won’t 
you? You must have such a good 
time you won’t go away.” 

“I’ve got to go back tomorrow 
night,” I said. 

I saw Miss Percival move un«-' 
easily. Mother’s hands dropped in 
her lap. 

“Darling,” she said, “I never 
thought that you were selfish.” 

“Now,” said Miss Percival, “we 
mustn’t have the doctor angry with 
us, must we? We must only talk 
about happy things. We must be 
glad that our Big Boy is with us 
today and tomorrow.” 

“Mother,” I said, “any time you 
really want me —” 

“I want you now, now, always,” 
Mother said. 

“It is time for our boy to be go¬ 
ing now,” Miss Percival said. “We’ll 
see him again later.” 

I closed Mother’s door behind 
me. It had been a good deal worse 
than I had expected. Mary was 
waiting for me in the hall. 

“Was that old bitch, Peffcival, 
in there?” Mary whispered. 


1 started as though she had stuck 
a pin in me. 

“Where did you pick up that 
word?” 

“Well,” Mary answered, “it’s 
what I mean. Did Mother try to 
make you stay ?” 

“Yes,” I said. “I can’t. I’m go¬ 
ing back tomorrow night.” 

Then I forgot that she was my 
little sister. I suppose that 1 had to 
speak to someone. 

“My God, Mary, I can’t stay,” 
I said. 

I HAD forgotten how pretty all 
the girls were. They still wore 
long dresses at the Club that night, 
but their dresses had more color to 
them. And I noticed, during my 
first dance with Kay Motford, that 
the beat of the music was more 
pronounced. 

“Harry,” Kay said, “can’t you 
keep time to the music?” 

“I am keeping time,” I said. 
“You’re not,” said Kay, “and 
you’ve been drinking.” 

“Not any more than anyone 
else,” I said. 

“Harry,” Kay said, “I don’t 
know what’s the matter with you.” 
“How do you mean?” I asked. 
“You aren’t the way you used 
to be at all,” she said. “We used to 
be such good friends, and now we 
hardly know what to say to each 
other. Has anything happened to 
you?” 

“It isn’t me,” I answered. “It’s 
everything else. Everything —” 



THE reader's digest 


^SO 

Then Joe Bingham cut in on us, 
and I stood near the wall, watching 
them dance away. I was thinking 
that it was about time to cut in on 
the youngest FVear girl, when Guy 
Motford came up to me. 

“There’s a girl that wants to 
meet you,” he said. “ Did you ever 
hear of her — Emmy Kane ?” 

“What’s the matter with her?” 
I sLskcci* 

“Nothing,” Guy said. “She’s one 
of the best little neckers you ever 
saw. Come on.” He pulled me a few 
steps across the floor and stopped a 
couple that were coming toward us. 
“ Here he is, Emmy. Emmy Kane, 
this is Harry Pulham.” 

She was one of the new people at 
the Club, from one of those families 
that had come there in the war 
years. 

“I saw you on the beach,” she 
said. “You looked awfully cute in 
a bathing suit.” 

Her speech showed that she wasn’t 
one of the old crowd. Certainly 
none of them would discuss the way 
1 looked in a bathing suit, and 
when I put my arm around her I 
must have hesitated. 

“What’s the matter?” she asked. 

“Nothing,” I said. 

“I’ll bet you’ve got an awfully 
good line,” she said. “I wish you’d 
hold me a little closer. I can dance 
better and it’s more cozy.” 

“All right,” I said. 

“You act so young,” she said. 
“Is that your line?” 

I must have been a good many 


August 

years older than she. I had been to 
the war, where I had seen ^sights 
which were unbelievable. The be¬ 
wildering part was that she was a 
girl in my own social class and I 
did not know what she expected. 

“Have you got a car?” she asked. 
“Let’s drive somewhere.” 

“That would be fine,” I said, “if 
it’s all right.” I had never heard of 
taking a girl out in a car in the 
middle of a dance, and as we walked 
out I was wondering what people 
would say if we were noticed. I 
could still hear the music above 
the crunching of our feet on the 
blue gravel. The orchestra was 
playing “Madelon.” 

“Have you got any rye?” she 
asked. “I always like rye.” 

“You mean whisky?” I asked. 
She began to laugh. 

“You have the cutest line,” she 
said. “We’d better go in our car. 
7'here’s some in the side pocket.” 

Her car was a new open Cadillac, 
and she asked me to drive it. She 
sat close to me, leaning lightly 
against my shoulder. 

“Where shall we go?” I asked. 

“Somewhere where we can park,” 
she said. “Out along by the sea. 
You’re Mary’s brother, aren’t you ? 
Mary’s awfully cute.” It was a new 
word to me — “cute.” I wished 
that I felt more familiar with this 
sort of thing, and that I knew what 
to do. I remember thinking that 
Bjll King would have known. We 
drove along the shore road, and she 
began humming beneath her breath. 



MARVlN MYLES 


1941 

“Let’s sing,” she said, and we 
sang “ Madelon.” 

“Let’s stop here,” she said, and 
when I stopped the car she leaned 
over and shut oflf the engine. 

"You’d better turn out the 
lights,” she said, “or we’ll burn 
down the battery.” Then she reached 
into a pocket in the door. “Here 
it is,” she said, and she unscrewed 
the stopper of a silver flask, and 
took a drink and handed it to me. 

I took a drink too because it seemed 
to me exactly what I needed, and it 
made me feel a good deal better. 

“What arc you thinking about?” 
she asked. 

“I was thinking,” I said, “that ■ 
I had never done anything like 
this.” 

She laughed at me through the 
dark. 

“ Go ahead,” she said, “ but don’t 
rumple up my hair.” 

She put her arm on my shoulder, 
and I saw her face turned up to¬ 
ward mine, white and hazy in the 
dark, and I bent down and kissed 
her. I felt her arms tighten about 
my neck. 

“Darling,” she whispered, and I 
kissed her again. 

"I’ve been wondering,” she said, 
“ever since I saw you on the beach, 
what you were like. . . . Do you 
like it?” 

Yes,” I told her. “Very much.” 

“You’ re so funny,” she said. 
“You act worried.” 

“Look here,” I asked her. “Does 
everyone do this now?” 


^5/ 

She pushed herself away from me 
and looked at me. 

“What ever are you talking 
about?” 

"I don’t know,” I said. “A lot 
must have happened since I’ve 
been away.” 

"I guess we’d better go back,” 
she said. 

“Oh, no,” I said, and J un¬ 
screwed the stopper from the flask 
and took another drink, as long as 
it was the thing to do. Then I tried 
to kiss her again. 

“No,” she said, “you act—” 
her voice broke, “as though 

“As though what?” I asked. 

“As though I was immoral.” 

“I didn’t mean to act that way,” 
I said. “I’m awfully sorry.” 

“We’d better be going back,” she 
sobbed. "No, don’t touch me.” 

“Please listen to me,” 1 said. "1 
don’t know what I did, but 1 want 
to beg your pardon.” 

But she only blew her nose and 
sobbed. 

“Please don’t,” I said, “please.” 

“Oh, shut up,” she sobbed. "You’ve 
spoiled it all. We’d better go back.” 

I have thought often enough of 
all the things I could have said on 
the drive back. I suppose everyone 
has some awkward moment in his 
life which keeps cropping up un¬ 
comfortably through the years, and 
my ride in the car has always been 
like that. I have explained to her 
in my thoughts everything about 
myself, very volubly and convinc¬ 
ingly, but at the time 1 only said: 



.152 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


**rm not really as bad as you 
think I am.” 

Yet it was true that everything 
was spoiled. 

F ather was sitting in the parlor, 
nodding over his paper, and his 
head straightened up jerkily when 
I came in. 

“Oh, there you are,” he said. 
“Did you have a good time?” 

I wished that they did not all 
keep asking me the same question. 
“Yes, a fine time,” I said. 
“You’re not serious about going 
back tomorrow, are you?” 

“Yes,” I said. “I'll have to be 
there Monday morning.” 

Father tossed his paper on the 
floor. 

“Harry, when are you going to 
stop all this damned nonsense?” 

“P'ather,” I said, “it won’t do 
any good to argue.” 

I have never forgotten the way 
he looked at me. First his eyes were 
hard and incredulous, and then he 
looked older than I had ever seen 
him. 

“All right,” he said. “We won’t 
go over it again, but I'm damned if 
I know —"He stopped and glanced 
away from me while I waited for 
him to go on. “I'm damned if I 
know what’s getting into every¬ 
body. I wish you’d talk to Frank 
Wilding about going back to his 
brokerage office.” 

He got up stiffly out of his chair 
and walked over to me. 

“Perhaps around October,” he 


said, “you’ll feel differently. If 
you’re back around October maybe 
we could go out after woodcock. 
When you were born I thought 
there’d be someone I could take 
shooting. It’s funny, isn't it? Noth¬ 
ing turns out the way you think.” 

“I wish you wouldn’t say that, 
sir,” I said. 

“Well, it’s true,” Father said. 
“All the things you take for granted 
— there they are, and then they’re 
gone. There you were; and now 
you’re gone.” 

“I wish you wouldn’t say that,” 

I said. “You make me feel —” 

“I can’t help the way you feel,” 
Father said, “and you can’t help 
the way I feel. I guess neither of us 
is very bright, Harry. We just have 
to worry on as best we can. Good 
night.” 

“You’re not angry with me, are 
you?” I asked. 

“No,” said Father. “What’s the 
use of talking? I never could talk.” 
He reached out his hand and we 
shook hands. 

I know now why everything went 
wrong at North Harbor. I did not 
want to stay there, because I was in 
love with Marvin Myles. 

TiTken the Girl You Love 
Loves You 

WAS back at the Bullard office at 
nine on Monday morning. Once 
I heard the typewriters and saw 
everyone working, it was just as 
though the week-end in North Har¬ 
bor had been part of a bad night. 



MARVIN MYLES 


mi 

Now I seemed to be wide awake 
again. Bill King’s and Marvin’s 
desks were still vacant and I hoped 
that Marvin would get there beiore 
Bill, and when she did I realized 
how much I had wanted to see her. 

‘"Hello, Marvin,” I said. 

“Why, hello,” she said, and then 
we both laughed. “Well, here you 
are. 

“Yes,” I .said. “It seems so.” 

“And you don’t look any differ¬ 
ent,” she said. “I kept thinking 
you’d look different. Did you have 
a good time?” 

I don’t know why everyone kept 
asking me that. 

“Where’s Bill?” I asked. 

“They sent him on a trip to 
Chicago,” Marvin said. “Never 
mind about Bill. We have to see 
Kaufman at 9 : 15 . What did they 
do to vou up there ? ” 

“Who?” I asked. 

“ F.veryone — the butler and ev¬ 
eryone. Did he unpack your things? 
Did he say anything about them?” 

“Why, no,” I said. 

“ Oh, he didn’t, didn't he ? ” Mar¬ 
vin said. “He might have said I 
packed your bag all right.” 

“Never mind him,” I said. 

“1 do mind,” Marvin answered. 
“Someday I’m going to have a 
butler and I want to know how 
they work. Harry, did you miss 
me?” 

“Yes,” I said. 

“All right,” Marvin said. “Now 
• we’ll go in to see Kaufman, and 
remember he’s always bad on Mon- 


r53 

day mornings. Get some paper and 
pencils. Come along.” 

“Marvin,” I said, “I want to tell 
you something.” 

“Well, tell it quickly,” Marvin 
said. 

She was bending over her desk, 
picking up some pencils and copy 
paper, and everything seemed ab^)- 
lutely natural, absolutely simple. 
For once in my life I knew about 
everything. It was like looking at 
an examination paper and being 
prepared for all the (luestions. It 
was like hitting a ball exactly 
right. 

“Marvin,” I said. 

' “ What is the matter with you ? ” 

Marvin asked. “Is it the heat?” 

“Yes, it is pretty hot,” I said, 
“but it was cold enough for blan¬ 
kets at North Harbor. It’s funny 
that nothing turns out the way you 
think it’s going to.” 

“What are you talking about?” 
Marvin asked. 

“I don’t know,” I said. “Mar¬ 
vin, I love you.” 

She turned around very quickly, 
and at first I thought she was an¬ 
noyed from the way her forehead 
wrinkled. 

“Well,” she asked, “whatever 
put that into your head?” 

“I don’t know,” I said. “Just 
now when I saw you I wanted to 
tell you.” 

“Why, darling,” Marvin said, 
and then she stopped. “ Well, that’s 
all right. I love you too, but we 
can’t do much about it right now, 



THE READER^S DIGEST 


J54 


August 


can we? Come ahead. Kaufman’s 
waiting.” 

There were a lot of details about 
that period which I thought I would 
never forget, yet now that I try to 
recall them, they arc all lost. Tt was 
the first time that I had ever told a 
girl that I loved her, and the first 
time that the girl that I loved loved 
me. I believe there was a popular 
tune that went that way in those 
days. 

I know that T was happy, very 
happy, but there was more to it 
than that. I was not sure that she 
really meant it, for she gave no 
further sign of it, and we were aw¬ 
fully busy that day, so busy that it 
all became a sort of background. 
All the time that I was thinking 
that Marvin had said she loved me, 
we were discussing the emulsifying 
properties of soap. I remember now 
that my love for Marvin Myles was 
a good deal mixed up with pictures 
of people washing themselves and 
with pictures of intimate, filmy 
garments. 

We worked on rough layouts 
with Mr. Kaufman all that morn¬ 
ing and all that afternoon while the 
perspiration poured down Mr. 
Kaufman’s face, and he tore apart 
roll after roll of drawings. 

“The basic idea is all right,” Mr. 
Kaufman said, at last, “but the 
trouble is there isn’t any sex in it.” 

“Sex?” Trepeated after him. 

“Sex,” said Mr. Kaufman, and 
he slapped his hand on the desk. 
“You can’t have a soap campaign 


without sex appeal. You get my 
idea, don’t you. Miss Myles?” 

“Yes,” said Marvin, “I know 
what you mean.” 

“Well, that’s what you’re here 
for. I’ve watched Mrs. Kaufman 
with soap. It’s intimate.” 

Marvin glanced at me across the 
room and then looked out of the 
window. It was the first time that I 
had heard of Mrs. Kaufman, and 
I wondered if Mrs. Kaufman loved 
him. If I were, ever married I 
would certainly not bring my wife’s 
name into conversations about 
soap. If I were ever married . . . 
It was the first time that I had 
ever thought about it that way. If 
I loved Marvin and she loved me, 
we would get married. 

“Daintiness,” I heard Marvin 
saying, “is that what you mean?” 

“Daintiness,” Mr. Kaufman said. 
“Now we’re getting somewhere. 
Wait a minute. I’ll see if Mr. Bul¬ 
lard is out of conference.” 

Mr. Kaufman hurried out of the 
room, and for a moment Marvin 
and I were alone. 

“Marvin,” I said, “maybe I 
didn’t understand you when you 
said —” 

“Of course you did,” Marvin 
answered. “But here comes Kauf¬ 
man. Isn’t he terrible?” 

“All right,” said Mr. Kaufman. 
“We’re going to see Mr. Bullard 
now.” 

Mr. Bullard was sitting at his 
desk with the tips of his fingers 
pressed together. 



MARVIN MVLES 


^55 


J041 


“Miss Myles,” he said, “I hear 
vciu have found a word. I want you 
to tell it to me. I didn’t want Mr. 
Kaufman to spoil it.” 

“How do you mean Fd spoil 
it?” Mr. Kaufman asked. 

“Now, Walter,” said Mr. Bul¬ 
lard, “you know how it was about 
that lubricating oil. Occasionally 
you mangle words.” 

“ Come off it, can’t you, J. T.?” 
said Mr. Kauffman. “You’re not 
talking to a client. We’re trying to 
turn out copy.” 

“Now, Walter,” said Mr. Bul¬ 
lard, “what is copy but words? 
Every word in perfect balance with 
another.” 

“Oh, God,” said Mr. Kaufman, 
“come oft’ it, J. T. You’re not try¬ 
ing to sell anybody anything.” 

“ What is the word. Miss Myles ? ” 
Mr. Bullard asked. 

“The word is ‘daintiness,’ ” Mar¬ 
vin said. 

“Wait,” said Mr. Bullard. “Wait, 
don’t speak again. I don’t want 
anyone to speak. ” The room was 
silent, “Daintiness,” Mr. Bullard 
said softly. “Don’t interrupt me. 
Loveliness. Sheer glowing loveli¬ 
ness. Filminess. Evanescence. Dawn. 
Mistiness. Don’t interrupt me.” 

Mr. Kaufman stood looking 
stonily out of the window, his face 
red and glowing, his shirt sodden 
and limp. I look^ at Marvin. She 
stood looking straight ahead of her, 
like a registered nurse in an oper¬ 
ating room. 

“Daintiness,” said Mr. Bullard. 


“All right. Use it in all the wom¬ 
en’s copy. And after this Miss 
Myles will be in charge of the 
women’s copy. Fll edit it myself.” 

“ Very well,” said Mr. Kaufman 
stiffly. That was all they said, but 
it meant that Marvin would no 
longer have to defer to Mr. Kauf¬ 
man. 

It was after five o’clock when we 
got back to the room where we 
worked and Marvin put her hand 
over mine for a moment. 

“God, what a day! Everything’s 
happened — everything. I’ve got 
to go home and get a bath. Do you 
see what happened? Kaufman told 
Bullard to come off it, do you re¬ 
member? He might as well resign.” 

“Marvin — ” I began. 

“Darling,” she said, “ you’ve got 
to learn to keep everything in its 
place. Go home and put on a dinner 
coat and stop for me at seven. 
We’re going to the Plaza and we’re 
going to have champagne. Go home 
now and get dressed. I look awful 
and so do you.” 

W HEN I called for Marvin I ex¬ 
pected her to come down¬ 
stairs to meet me, but instead the 
front door clicked and I walked up 
three flights to her apartment, a 
furnished one which she had sublet 
— a bedroom and a sitting room 
and a little kitchenette. The door 
was open and Marvin called to me 
from the bedroom to wait. 

“I’ve got a new dress,” she called. 
“Wait till you see it!” 



I sat there in the sitting room, 
looking at her shelves of books. 
Marvin had read a great deal more 
than I had, and most of those books 
were strange to me. Now they 
seemed litce my books, simply be¬ 
cause they belonged to her. 1 heard 
the swish of her dress in the bed¬ 
room and then the door opened. I 
don’t remember what the dress was 
like, because 1 can never remember 
about clothes, but she was beau¬ 
tiful. 

“Kiss me,” she said. “I’ve been 
waiting all day.” Then she pushed 
me away and held me by the 
shoulders. 

“You’ve missed it again,” she 
said. 

“Missed what?” I asked. 

“The back of your head,” she 
said. “You brush your hair hard in 
front, but there’s a place in back 
vou never touch. Wait a minute.” 

She went into the bedroom and 
came back with her hairbrush. 

“Now, stand still,” she said, 
“and don’t wriggle.” I pretended 
to think that it was funny, but she 
must have known that I was 
pleased. And she liked the orchids 
I had bought — not the ordinary 
purple ones, but some with little 
brownish-yellow flowers. 

At the Plaza, the headwaiter 
took us to a good table. It amused 
me a little to see how much Marvin 
cared for things which I took for 
granted. 

“Darling,” she said, “isn’t it 
wonderful?” 


August 

“Yes,” I said, “it’s the fin?t time 
I ever enjoyed it here.” 

“Now tell me when you first 
liked me,” she said, and we went 
over the whole thing, I suppose the 
way everyone does, remembering 
what she had said and I had said, 
and the way she had looked and I 
had looked. 

“I wish I could say things nicely,” 
I told her. 

“You do, when you say what 
you mean,” she said. 

“I don’t know what you see in 
me.” 

“You wouldn’t,” Marvin said. 
“It’s because I can do so much for 
you. That’s what a girl really 
wants. It’s going to be like a sym¬ 
phony. I’m going to like all the 
things you do.” 

I began thinking of what I would 
say when I introduced her to the 
family. “Marvin,” I said, “when 
are we going to get married?” 

“Why, darling,” she said, “do 
you really want us to get married ?” 

“Why, yes,” I said, “ofcourse.” 

She looked at me across the ta¬ 
ble, smiling. 

“ I was wondering why you were 
worried,” she said. “Don’t look 
that way. Of course I want to, but 
we ought to see what it’s like.” 

“What it’s like?” I repeated. 

“ What everything is like — you 
and me — everything. I want 
you — ” She reached across the ta¬ 
ble and touched my hand — “I 
want you to want to marry me so 
much that you don’t care about 


THE reader’s digest 



MARVIN MYLES 


rSl 


1941 

anything else — anything. For once 
in your life, dear, try to have a good 
time. Try to think of it all as nat¬ 
ural. I’m going to make you do 
that, if it kills me.” 

“Marvin — ” I began, and then 
stopped. 

“Go ahead,” she said. 

“You don’t mean, Marvin — ” I 
said, “you can’t mean what I 
think.” 

“Of course,” Marvin said, “I 
mean what you think. I want us to 
be happy, dear. For once in your 
life 1 want you to be happy. Have 
you ever really been?’’ 

“Happy?” I repeated. 

“Tell the truth,” Marvin said. 
“Have you ever really been happy?” 

“No, 1 guess I never have,” I 
said. 

“Well, from now on,” Marvin 
said, “you’re going to be.” 

We rode through the park in a 
Victoria that night, and afterwards 
we went in a taxi back to her apart¬ 
ment. It was almost midnight by 
then. She stood beside me looking 
at her little living room. 

“It looks like the devil, doesn’t 
it?” she said. 

“No,” I said, “it's awfully nice.” 

“It isn’t,” she said. “It’s cheap 
and silly, ^me day, Tm going to 
have a room with nothing but 
Chippendale in it. You can take me 
over to England and I’ll buy it.” 

“When do you want to go?” I 

“S(ime day,” she said. “Well 
sail on the Berengaria* I’ll want 


clothes in Paris too. What do you 
want?” 

“Nothing,” I said. “I’ll watch 
you buy them.” 

“That’s because you’ve always 
had everything,” she said. “I’m 
tired. Aren’t you tired?” 

“Perhaps I’d better be going 
now.” 

“Now, that’s a silly thing to 
say,” she said. “Why do you have 
to go because I’m tired? I can lie 
down here on the couch and you 
can sit beside me, and you can tell 
me about everything.” 

“What sort of things?” I asked. 

“Tell me about North Harbor; 
and you might as well turn out the 
light.” 

I sat beside her in the dark and 
the light from the street was some¬ 
thing like moonlight. I have always 
liked street lights ever since. It 
shone dimly on her face while she 
looked up at me. I talked for quite 
a while, and said a good many 
things which I had never said to 
anyone. 

“ Don’t,” she said all of a sudden, 
“don’t go on about it any more. I 
want to know all about them, but 
not now.” 

“You’re tired,” I said. “I’d bet¬ 
ter be going.” 

“What are you going to go for?” 
she asked. “Aren’t you going to 
kiss me?” 

“Why, yes,” I said, “of course,” 
and then she laughed and 1 saw 
that her face was wet. “Marvin, 
what are you crying about?” 



158 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


“Darling,” she whispered, “prom¬ 
ise me something.” 

“What.?” I asked. 

“Don’t say you’ve got to be 
going.” 

“All right,” I said. “I won’t.” 
“Just try to forget that there’s 
anyone but me.” 

I Rememh er J^arvin jMyles 

N ext morning the girl at the in¬ 
formation desk at J. T. Bul¬ 
lard’s did not appear to notice any¬ 
thing unusual about me. 

“Good morning,” she said. 
“You’re early, Mr. Pulliam.” 

Bill was at his desk, with his 
hands in his pockets and with his 
chair tilted back, looking out of the 
window, but Marvin was not there. 

I was afraid she might be staying 
away because she could not bear 
the sight of me. I thought that Bill 
would certainly notice something, 
but he only waved his hand at me 
languidly. • 

“Hello, Bill,” I said. “What were 
you doing in Chicago?” 

“The rubber webbing account,” 
Bill said. “We got it. How was 
everybody at home?” 

“Fine,” I said. 

“Did your family want to get 
you out of this?” 

“Yes,” I said. “But never mind 
about it, Bill.” 

“Well, don’t let them,” Bill said. 
“You won’t know yourself when 
you forget that crowd. Where’s 
Marvin ? She’s late.” 

“I don’t know,” I said. 


“Well, never mind,*’ Bill said. 
“IvCt me ask you a personal ques¬ 
tion. How do you keep your pants 
up ? ” 

“What?” I asked. I couldn’t get 
used to the speed of Bill’s mind. 

“I’m just asking,” Bill said pa¬ 
tiently. “You wear a belt, don’t 
you?” 

“Of course I wear a belt,” I 
answered. 

“Well, that’s just the point,” 
Bill said. “You wear a belt and I 
wear a belt. Every day you wear a 
belt, and every hour, every minute, 
you’re unconsciouvsly weakening 
your abdomen. Those lazy ab¬ 
dominal muscles, each hour, each 
minute, are becoming more flabby. 
A hundred hidden dangers lurk 
about your waistline.” 

“What are you talking about?” 
1 asked. 

“About the Winetka Woven 
Web Company,” Bill said. “1‘hey’re 
troubled about their suspenders. 
American manhood is going to be 
put back into galluses. Abraham 
Lincoln wore suspenders. He didn’t 
have a weak abdomen. Nearly 
everyone in Great Britain wears 
suspenders. A London tailor never 
even puts belt loops on his pants. 
You don’t see fat, pot-bellied Eng¬ 
lishmen with lazy, weakened abdo¬ 
mens. Why? Because they don’t 
wear belts. It’s the belt that’s ruin¬ 
ing the manhood of America.” 

“Did you think up that your¬ 
self?” I asked. Of course I knew 
that he had. Already everyone was 



JOdi MARVIN MYLES 159 


saying that Bill was a great idea 
man. 

“Anything the matter with it?” 
Bill asked. “It*s going to be a 
crusade based on fear. If you do it 
right you can scare off all the belts 
in the country. A hundred hidden 
dangers lurk —” 

“How do you know there are a 
hundred hidden dangers?” I asked. 

“Well, suppose there are only 
fifty,” Bill said. “It’s good enough 
for a raise.” He smiled at me the 
way he did when he was pleased 
with himself. 

Then Marvin Myles came in. As 
far as I could see, it might have 
been any other day. 

“Hello, boys,” she said. 

“I’ve got to be going while I’m 
enthusiastic,” Bill said. “I’m go¬ 
ing to take it in to Bullard,” and he 
pushed himself out of his chair. 
“ Every day — every hour — na¬ 
ture’s wall of muscle — Marvin, 
what’s happened to you?” 

A silence followed that seemed 
very long. 

“Why?” Marvin said. “What 
makes you ask?” 

“You’re looking pretty,” said 
Bill, “awfully, awfully pretty.” 

“Why, thanks, Bill,” she said. 

“Well, so long,” Bill said. “I’ll 
see you later.” 

I did not know what to say to 
Marvin. I did not want to look at 
her, and everything that Bill had 
said made it dl much worse. 

“Marvin,” I said, “I suppose 
^yoii can’t help hating me.” 


Then our glances met and the 
corners of her lips curled upward. 

“Why,” she said. “W’hy should 
I?” 

“You ought to,” I said. “I never 
knew that I could —” 

“Could what?” Marvin asked. 
“Forget myself so far,” I said. 
Then I heard her laugh. I could 
not believe she was laughing. 

“Why, you sweet, dear, damn 
fool!” she said. 

Then everything was all right. 
It was what I’ve always felt — that 
everything was always all right 
whenever Marvin was there. 

O NE OF the few times in my life 
when I stood on my own two 
feet was at the Bullard agency. I 
never could hit on ideas the way 
Bill did and I never could write as 
well as Marvin Myles, but in some 
ways I could think more clearly 
than either of them. There is a tre¬ 
mendous lot in the advertising busi¬ 
ness which requires common sense 
and a dull sort of accuracy. They 
put me to work on scientific data 
and statistics, and some of the things 
I did formed^he background of two 
or three of the best merchandising 
campaigns. For example, I wrote 
a report on suspenders that made 
the client offer me a job. I was the 
one who suggested a certain amount 
of color in the product and the idea 
of selling a number of braces to go 
with every suit. Bill may have in¬ 
vented the dangers that lurk about 
the waistline, but I was the one 



i6o 

who thought of the idea that sus¬ 
penders might be something which 
you need not be ashamed of when 
you had your coat off in summer. 
Though the idea did not go very 
far, I still think there is something 
to it. Meanwhile the belief that I 
was getting somewhere, that I 
could earn my living here, was sat¬ 
isfying— but any such thoughts 
are always mixed up with Marvin 
Myles and Bill. 

in those days when the speak¬ 
easies were beginning to crop up on 
Murray Hill, we three used to meet 
at one of them in the afternoon and 
then have dinner at some queer 
place. Often it was in Greenwich 
Village. I suppose there is a time in 
everyone’s life when Greenwich 
Village exerts a peculiar charm. 
The ventilation and the food were 
often pretty bad, and guttering 
candies on saucers on the table 
furnished the only illuminations, 
but everyone could talk about sub¬ 
jects which were usually banned at 
home, such as free love and trial 
marriage and symbols in dreams, 
and motion in art, and Marxism. 
It did not actually matter, how¬ 
ever, whether you had ever heard 
of the subjects, for you could soon 
pick up the phrases. Marvin pointed 
out to me that most of the villagers 
wer^ no good, just on the fringe of 
everything, but she rather enjoyed 
it too, and she said that, bad as it 
was, it did me good. I know it is the 
fashion to laugh about Greenwich 
Village and to say hard things 


Augua 

about it, but for me it still has an 
especial sort of beauty,'because I 
associate it with Marvin Myles. 

I T ALWAYS seemed to amaze Mar¬ 
vin that I had a few simple ac¬ 
complishments, and when she was 
surprised it made me happier than 
anything else. There was the eve¬ 
ning when she found that I could 
play squash and the time when she 
discovered that I knew how to sail 
a boat and the day I took her riding 
in Central Park. I could never tell 
why it was that she was so anxious 
to learn to ride. 

One Sunday we met Bill in the 
country and after lunch Bill and I 
played three sets of tennis while, 
Marvin watched. The games were 
rK)t exciting, because I was better 
than Bill. 

“You see, I had tennis lessons 
from the time I was 11,” I told her. 

“They gave you lessons in every¬ 
thing, didn’t they?” she said. 

I offered to teach her, but she 
shook her head. 

“No,” she said, “they’ve got to 
catch you young. Darling, they 
caught you awfully young.” 

I asked her why she was so silent 
when we drove back to town after¬ 
wards in that little car of mine. 

“I was just thinking,” she said. , 
“It makes me jealous.” 

“Why should it?” I asked. “You 
know I love you more than any¬ 
thing.” 

“Harry,” she asked, “are you . 
sure of that?” , , 


THE reader’s digest 



MARVIN MYLES 




i6t 


“Every time I see you every¬ 
thing is better. It’s like compound 
interest. Everything we do keeps 
being more so.” 

“Like liquor,” Marvin said. 
“First you take a drink and then 
you take another.” 

“No,” I said, “it’s not that way 
at all. There’s never any morning 
after.” 

“Darling,” she answered, “you’re 
awfully sweet, but it’s hard to be 
honest when you’re in love. Some¬ 
times I’m frightened.” 

“You needn’t be,” I said. 

“It makes me frightened when 
I see you do things that I can’t 
do. They take you away from me, 
all those little things.” 

I took both her hands and I 
laughed at her. 

“Marvin,” I said, “let’s get 
married.” 

Her hand gripped mine, but she 
did not answer. 

“I’m not good,” I went on, “at 
this business of pretending. I want 
everyone to know the way I feel 
about you.” 

“Darling,” Marvin said, “let’s 
not talk about it now. It — might 
spoil it all.” 

“It wouldn’t,” I said. “We’ve 
;ot to talk about it, Marvin; if we 
ion’t, this may not last.” 

As soon as I said it I knew it had 
5een in the back of my mind — 
that it could not last, 
f “ I know,” she said. “We’ll have 
> talk about it soon. It isn’t that 
don’t think about it all the time> 


but it’s going to be so complicated. 
There’ll be all those people I don’t 
know and all these things I don’t 
know. Someday we’ll get it over 
with — but let’s not talk about it 
now.” 

It Had to Happen Sometime 

O NE MORNING at the office a 
few weeks later, my phone 
rang. “Boston’s calling you,” I 
heard the switchboard operator 
say. Then I recognized Mary’s 
voice. “Can you hear me?” she 
asked. “The doctors say you must 
come right away.” 

“Is it Mother?” I asked. 

“No,” she said. “Mother’s quite 
well — it’s Father. Harry, they 
think he’s dying. He has pneu¬ 
monia.” 

“All right,” I said. “I’ll take 
the ten o’clock. I’ll be at the house 
around three. Tell him I’m coming 
and give him my love and — 
Mary —” 

“Yes?” she said. 

Then I could not think what to 
tell her. There were a dozen things 
I wanted to say and none of them 
made sense. 

“Tell him I’m with him all the 
time.” 

I hung up the receiver carefully 
and stood up. Bill and Marvin 
were watching me. 

“They want me,” I said. “Fa¬ 
ther has pneumonia. I guess I’d 
better be starting.” 

Marvin did not say anything for 
a moment. Then she said: 



i 62 


THE reader’s digest 


“ ril go Up with you. I could stay 
somewhere.” 

“There isn’t any need to do 
that,” I said. Somehow I still could 
not understand that anything had 
hiippened. I imagine, though, that 
Marvin must have seen it all with¬ 
out being able to say anything. 

“Harry,” she said, “have you 
any rubbers? Well, then, stop at 
the station and get some.” 

“All right,” I said. 

“And call me up tonight,” she 
said. 

“All right. Good-bye, Marvin,” 
I said. 

“Harry, don’t say that. Don’t 
say good-bye.” 

That ride to Boston has never 
seemed quite real, in spite of the 
atmosphere of cold fact which al¬ 
ways goes with trains. The truth 
was that I was so withdrawn inside 
myself that I seemed to be pulled 
beneath the surface of something 
like water, except for occasional 
moments when I emerged for light 
and air. 

Mother met me at the door of 
the house. 

“Dear, you look awfully cold,” 
she said, and then before I could 
ask her anything she added, “The 
doctor’s just left. He’s a little 
better. He knows you’re coming.” 

I turned the knob of Father’s 
bedroom door very carefully, and 
could hear his heavy breathing. 
The room was full of strange new 
objects — iron cylinders beside the 
bed and an oxygen tent. All his 


August 

books and pipes, all the little odds 
and ends he liked to look at, had 
been taken away, and he lay 
breathing in long painful gasps. 
His eyes met mine and I took his 
hand. 

“Hello, Father,” I said. “I just 
got here.” 1 wonder if one always 
makes some such obvious remark .. 
at such a time. 

“Don’t go away,” he said. He 
spoke with an effort. 

“I’m not going, anywhere,” I 
answered. 

Father moved his head in the 
pillows. 

“It’s where you belong,” he 
said. “Some man in the house.” 

“Mr. Pulham,” the nurse said, 
“I wouldn’t speak any more.” 

Father looked at me and frowned. 

“We never did get shooting.” 

“That’s all right,” I said. “We’ll 
get there still.” 

“Don’t,” he said, “put it off. Do 
what you want to do.” 

“Yes, Father,” I said. 

“You know what I mean?” he 
asked. “What you -- want to do.” 

“Yes,” I said. 

Father said no more. He seemed ^ 
to have forgotten I was there. 

I tiptoed out of the room, and 
found Mary in the hall. Suddenly 
she threw her arms around me and 
began to cry. 

“It’s going to be all right,” I 
said. Yet I knew there was nothing 
to do. I had known it from the first * 
instant I entered the room and saw^ 
my father’s face. 



lop MARVIN MYLES 163 


For I*ll Come Back to You 

1 have always kept some of 
Marvin’s letters to me. One is the 
note that she wrote when Father 
died. There is a good deal in it 
which no one could understand but 
Marvin or me, and perhaps most 
letters are like that. 

V 

My dearest, dearest darling, IVe 
been thinking of you all day long, 
and ril think of you all tonight 
even when I’m asleep. I keep think¬ 
ing of little things I could do for 
you. I don’t seem to be one person 
any more, but part of me always 
seems to be with you. So now when 
I talk about myself at a time like 
this you know, don’t you, that I’m 
really talking about you? . . . 

It’s such a terrible time. I went 
through it when my mother died. 
It’s so terrible to have someone go 
and just keep on thinking, "I’ll 
have to tell him that when I see 
him,” and then know that never, 
never, here, will it happen again. 
Now, if you and I were ever to 
quarrel and said we were never 
going to see each other again, why, 

I should always think, ‘‘Of course 
it isn’t so. Some day Til see him — 
right on the street or somewhere 
and then he would want to kiss me, 
except that he wouldn’t compro¬ 
mise me in public. And then I 
would tell him I was sorry, and ev¬ 
erything would be all right.” 

You know, don’t you, that I’m 
only running'on this way because I 
love you? Maybe it won’t be so 
bad if you know you have someone, 

' someone forever and always, some¬ 
one you can always come back to. 


dear, any time or anywhere. I love 
you so. I think you’d better, write 
me again as soon as you can. Don’t 
be too busy. Don’t get too lost. 

I know what she meant now a 
good deal better than I knew then, 
when it was impossible to see any¬ 
thing very clearly. It was hard to 
realize at first that there was no 
one else after Father’s death to 
handle the family responsibilities 
but me. Mother understood noth¬ 
ing about lawyers and investments. 
At first I imagined that in a week 
or so, when the house had quieted 
down and when the lawyers had 
the details straight, I might rea¬ 
sonably get back to New York. 
Then I saw there was not a chance 
—' that it would be a long while 
before I got away. 

If touched me that I had been 
made executor under Father’s will, 
to act with the Pritchard law 
office. It seemed to me that old Mr. 
Pritchard worried too much about 
the state income tax, and I even 
went so far as to argue with him 
about the investments, but there is 
no use going into the details now. 

I had intended to talk with 
Mary about it, too, the night I 
came back from the interview. We 
sat down to dinner by ourselves in 
the big dining room, which did not 
seem to be made for either of us. 
The room was ornate and shadowy 
and gloomy. Mary in her black 
dress, seated at Mother’s end of the 
table, so far away that I nearly had 
to raise my voice to speak to her, 



164 THE reader’s digest August 


looked very small. When Hugh 
came in with the soup Mary and I 
seemed to be like children, furtively 
pretending to be grown up. 

“Will you have sherry, sir?** 
Hugh asked me. 

“ Yes,” I said, “ and I want to go 
over the wine cellar with you to¬ 
morrow. I want a list of what there 
is. There may not be any more.** 

It occurred to me that I sounded 
a good deal like old Mr. Pritchard 
when he had taken off his glasses 
and tapped them on his desk. Mr, 
Pritchard’s whole life had been de¬ 
voted to saving things for people, 
because there might not be any 
more. 

“Harry,” Mary said, “I’d like 
to go abroad somewhere.” 

“You've been,” I said. “You 
went over with Fraulein.” 

“I’d like to go by myself,” Mary 
said. “ I’ll find friends on the boat.” 

“You never want to do that, 
Mary,” I said. “You can’t tell 
what people are like on boats.” 

“Now, you needn’t try to turn 
into Father just because he’s dead,” 
Mary said. “Sometimes you can be 
the damnedest fool. I wish you’d 
please shut up.” 

We sat quietly eating while Hugh 
walked around the table. Then 
when the dessert was finished Mary 
pushed back her chair. 

“Let’s go into the library,” she 
said. “I’ve got to talk to you.” 

“All right,” I said. “We won’t 
want any coffee, Hugh.” 

We closed the library door and 


Mary lighted a cigarette with a self- 
conscious flourish. 

“Sometimes you can be awful,” 
Mary said. “ Why are you so poi¬ 
sonous tonight?” 

I told her I did not mean to be, 
but that I had a good many things 
on my mind. 

“Sometimes you’re sweet and 
natural, and then again you drive 
me crazy,” Mary said. I saw as she 
puffed her cigarette that her lip was 
trembling. 

“You’re tired, Mary,” I said. 
“I don’t know why women think 
that someone can be sweet just to 
order.” 

“Oh, well,” Mary said, “I’ve got 
to talk to someone. Harry, I’m 
in love.” 

“In love?” I repeated. 

“What’s so queer about it?” she 
asked. “Why shouldn’t I be?” 

“Have you told Mother?” I 
asked. ■ 

“No,” she said, “of course not.” 

“Who are you in love with?” 

“You wouldn’t know him. Roger 
Priest.” 

“Priest?” I said. “What does he 
do?” 

“There you are,” she said. “What 
difference does it make? He wasn’t 
in the war and he didn’t go to 
Harvard. If you really want to 
know, he’s in the Harvard Dental 
School.” 

“My God,” I said. It was the 
only thing I could think of saying. 

I tried to think of dentistry asrt 
being an exacting and important, 



MARVIN MYLES 


1941 

* side of medicine, but it did not seem 
to help. “He must be perfectly 
wonderful.” 

“Harry,” she said, “don’t tell 
anyone, will you? It’s so awful it’s 
funny, but I can’t really do any¬ 
thing about it. You’re not laughing, 
are you?” 

i “No,” I said. “But couldn’t he 
stop being a dentist and turn into a 
doctor?” 

“I’ve asked him that,” Mary 
said. “He wants to be a dentist. 
Harry, he’s awfully proud.” 

“Well, it’s a hell of a life,” I said. 

“Now, you’re being nice,” said 
Mary. 

Sometimes I have wondered 
whether Mr. Priest did not have a 
good deal to do with changing the 
course of my life. He was not in 
the least peculiar, and was the first 
person I ever saw who was ob¬ 
sessed with a scientific interest, 
but I have never been able to see 
? why he wanted to be mixed up with 
j incisors and molars. Yet I could 
J not help being fascinated when he 
talked of the dental development 
of primitive man and the dental 
^ degeneracy of the human race, and 
since then I have read of the studies 
he made with certain eminent an¬ 
thropologists. Roger Priest finally 
distinguished himself. But at the 
time I didn’t think he was suitable 
for Mary. 

Though I have often tried to 
blame the Priest affair for keeping 
•me at home — and he was the only 
I person who could, listen intelligently 


when I talked about soap and sus¬ 
penders — there were all Sorts of 
other details. Mother and Mary de¬ 
pended on me too much for me to 
leave them, and then there was the 
problem of whether to sell or keep 
Westwood, and then there was 
Father’s property in the Northwest 
Wharf and Warehouse, in which I 
had to represent the family’s hold¬ 
ings. There were dozens of similar 
complications that seemed to wind 
around me. 

One afternoon when I was in the 
customers’ room at Smith and 
Wilding, looking over the news 
service reports, Mr. Wilding called 
me into his office. 

“How did Motors close?” he 
asked. 

“Strong, sir,” I said. “Up two 
points.” 

It was just as though I had never 
been away from Smith and Wild¬ 
ing. 

“All right,” said Mr. Wilding. 
“Tell them to give you a desk in¬ 
side the rail.” 

“ But I’m not working here, sir,” 

I said. 

“Noi” Mr. Wilding said, “but 
you need a desk downtown. When 
you go out find the bootblack for 
me. He’s late.” 

First I had a desk, and then it 
seemed to me that everyone in 
the office took it for granted that 
I’d be sitting at it. Although noth¬ 
ing was said about employment, I 
kept going down there more and 
more, because I did not like to stay 



j66 


THE reader's digest 


all day in the house and because it 
was easier to make appointments 
downtown. Then I began seeing 
everyone I used to know, and mak¬ 
ing dates to play squash at the 
Club, and looking up people. 

Sometimes I felt an almost un¬ 
bearable need to see Marvin Myles 
and one afternoon toward the end 
of January, from my desk at Smith 
and Wilding, I wrote to her: 

Tt’s funny to be writing you, be¬ 
cause you seem to be right here with 
me — right here at the desk where 
all the tickers are going and Mr. 
Wilding is looking out at me, drink¬ 
ing his glass of milk. 1 can't stand 
not seeing you, but the way things 
arc going I’m not able to get away, 
even for a day, and so I’m going to 
ask you something. I’ve always 
wanted you to see it here. We’ve 
talked about it so much. How 
would it be if you and Bill came up 
next week-end ? 

I knew that she would under¬ 
stand about having Bill, since it 
would look more natural and 
casual. 

I told Mother what I had done 
when I came home that afternoon, 
adding it to all the other pieces of 
news that I usually gave her. 

“By the way. I’ve asked Bill 
King up for the week-end, and a 
friend of ours, a girl named Marvin 
Myles.” 

“Why, that’s splendid, dear,” 
Mother said. “It’s time that you 
began seeing people. You might 
tafc them to Westwood on Sunday, 


August 

Who is Marvin Myles .^Jl’ve never 
heard you speak of her.” 

“Just a friend of Bill’s and mine,” 
1 said. 

Good-hye to All That 

N ow AND THEN, evcn as late as 
1920, it was not difficult to 
hear someone humming “Where 
Do We Go from Here?” Songs like 
that used to have a way of running 
through my head for days at a 
time, falling into rhythm with my 
footsteps and actions, as this one 
did while I waited at the Back Bay 
Station for Bill and Marvin Myles. 

“Where do we go from here?” I 
was humming. “Anywhere from 
Harlem to a Jersey City pier.” 

Then I saw Bill King down at the 
end of the platform, and Marvin 
just getting off the train. She looked 
so pretty that I wondered how she 
had ever come on account of me. 
Bill saw me, and then Marvin was 
staring through the smoke as I ran 
toward her. Then right there in 
front of everyone she threw her 
arms around me and kissed me. 

“Darling,” she said, “you look 
like a Teddy bear,” 

“Did you have a good trip?” I 

“Fine,” said Bill. “Boy, you’re 
looking hne.” 

Marvin squeezed my arm, “You 
look just the same,” she said. “Are 
your 

“Of course I am,” I answered. 
“Well, where do we go from • 
here?” she said. 



MARVIN MYLES 


1941 

“Where do we go from here?*' 
I repeated. “Anywhere from Har¬ 
lem to a Jersey City pier.** 

“Come on,’* said Bill. “Let’s 
push out of this. Oh, joy, oh boy! 
Where do we go from here ? ” 

I saw people looking at us and I 
realized that we were making a 
good deal of noise. I saw Patrick 
take a quick look at Marvin when 
he stood by the door of the car 
holding the robe. Then inside the 
car Marvin linked her arm through 
mine again and I held her hand 
under the robe and we were all 
laughing and talking. Bill was ex¬ 
plaining Boston to Marvin. I had' 
a feeling that we were all talking 
a little too much, as though we 
were afraid that something might 
happen if we did not all have 
something to say. I had thought so 
often of bringing Marvin home. 

“Will Hugh be waiting up?” she 
flslcccl 

“Of course he will,” I said. 

Mary met us in the hall and took 
Marvin up to her room while Bill 
and I waited in the library. 

“Bill,” I said, “I hope Marvin 
likes it here.” 

“Of course she’ll like it,” Bill 
said. ‘;Why shouldn’t she?” 

“ I just don’t want her to think 
it’s stuffy.” 

Bill hsid picked up the paper and 
was looking at the headlines. Now 
he put the paper down. ’ 

“Listen,” he said, “don’t act as 
though you’re afraid that Marvin 
is going to use the wrong fork.” 


j6y 

“I’m not acting that way,” I 
said. Just then Marvin and Mary 
came down the stairs. Marvin was 
in a tailored traveling suit, all new 
and perfect, which she must have 
bought just for the trip. I saw her 
glance about the room, at the books 
and Father’s prints and at the 
heavy leather chairs. 

“It’s awfully nice,” she said. 
“It’s just what I thought it would 
be like.” 

I rang the bell by the fireplace. 
Hugh answered it too quickly, 
showing that he must have been 
listening in the upper hall. 

“We want some ginger ale,” I 
said, “and Mr. King will have a 
Scotch-and-soda, won’t you. Bill?” 

“What about me?” Marvin 
asked. 

“Bring up the tray, Hugh,” I said. 

“And what about me?” Mary 
asked. “ Don’t keep worrying about 
Hugh.” 

“Why?” asked Marvin. “What’s 
the matter?” 

“There’s nothing really the mat¬ 
ter,” I said, “but it might upset 
him to find you and Mary drinking 
highballs. It will be all right when 
he brings up the tray. We can wash 
out the glasses afterwards.” 

“You mean he will smell the 
glasses?” Marvin asked. 

“Hugh’s an awful sneak,” Mary 
said. 

“That’s right,” said Bill. “We’U 
have to rinse the glasses. You girls 
don’t want to lose your reputa¬ 
tions, do you?” 



i68 


THE READER^S DIGEST 


August 


“It isn’t that,” J said, “but 
Hugh Would tell everybody down¬ 
stairs and then somebody would 
tell Mother.” 

“Oh,” Marvin said. 

We spoke softly because Hugh 
was coming back. He set down the 
tray on the low table near the fire. 

“May I help, sir?” he asked. 

“No,” I said. “That’s all for 
tonight, Hugh.” 

“I’ll tell you what we’ll do,” 
Marvin said. “Mary, you and Bill 
can drink out of one glass and 
Harry and I can drink out of an¬ 
other. Then we can put some ginger 
ale in two other glasses and throw 
it out the window.” 

“That isn’t such a bad idea,” T 
said. 

Then everyone was laughing, ex¬ 
cept Mary who looked annoyed. 

“You mustn’t mind Harry,” she 
said to Marvin. “Harry’s always 
worrying.” 

“Yes, I know,” Marvin said. 

“You wouldn’t think, would you,” 
Mary said, “that Harry had been 
a hero in the war?” 

“See here,” I said. “I wish you 
wouldn’t all discuss me as though 
I weren’t here at all.” 

Yet at the same time I knew that 
I was perfectly right. Mother would 
have heard about it and it would 
have made a lot of trouble. 

S ometimes when I am acutely 
aware that something is worry¬ 
ing me I find that it is actually 
some stray thought of that visit 


of Marvin Myles’s. Even now I 
find myself going over all the little 
phases of it, wondering why I be¬ 
haved as I did; Nothing could have 
made that visit any better — noth¬ 
ing that she could have done or 
that I could have done. What gives 
it such pathos is that both of us 
tried so hard. 

She kept looking at everything, 
which was perfectly natural, since 
it was all new to her and important, 
but that attentioh of hers made me 
nervous; I kept feeling that she 
was a stranger. I kept wanting 
everyone to see her as I did, and 
yet I knew that everyone we met 
saw her as a stranger. That was 
the way Mary saw her — as some¬ 
thing desirable and exotic, and Mary 
was sweet to her. She often told me 
afterwards how much she liked her. 
Mother was nice to her too, but 
I’m sure Marvin puzzled her. 

I took her up to Mother’s room 
after breakfast next morning. Mar¬ 
vin must have noticed that I was 
looking at her to see that she was 
all right. 

“What’s the matter?” she asked 
me in the upstairs hall. “Is my 
slip showing?” 

As a matter of fact. Mother 
wcmld not have minded at all if 
Marvin’s slip had been showing. It 
would have given her something 
homely to work on, because Mary 
was always having the same trou¬ 
ble. The difficulty was that nothing 
was showing. 1 suppose that Mar¬ 
vin must have been working very 



MARVIN MYLES 


I9H 

hard on herself before breakfast, 
though I did not think of it then. 

“No,” I said, “it isn*t that. 
It’s your nose.” 

“Why,” asked Marvin. “Is it 
shining?” 

It would really have been better 
if it had been, because Mother 
would have understood a well- 
scrubbed, shining face. 

“No,” I said, “just take your 
handkerchief and rub a little of the 
powder off.” 

Marvin rubbed some of the pow¬ 
der off. 

“ Now,” she asked, “ how’s that ? ” 

I have often wondered what Mar«. 
vin really thought about Mother. 
I kept worrying about Mother too, 
hoping that she would not be gush¬ 
ing and sentimental, hoping that 
she would not begin to cry about 
Father. As it turned out, Mother 
was awfully nice. She said she was 
glad that Harry knew nice girls in 
New York — she was sure that 
Marvin would understand how a 
mother worries more about a boy 
than about a girl. 

“She’s sweet,” Marvin told me 
afterwards. That’s all she would 
say. 

I told Marvin we were going out 
to Westwood for lunch. I wanted her 
to see Westwood. “We’re going to 
have a picnic,” I said, “and go 
coasting.” Marvin didn’t have the 
right clothes, but I told her that 
Mary had lots of extra tweeds and 
I gave her my sweater, 

“Is anyone coming with us?” 


i6g 

“There’ll be Bill and Mary,” I 
said, “and Joe Bingham and Kay 
Motford, and you and me.” 

What I recall best about the pic¬ 
nic is the snow, and how it got all 
over you and melted, and how it 
kept getting down Marvin’s neck, 
and that Marvin wanted to coast 
downhill sitting up. 

We ate our picnic in front of the 
fire in Father’s old den at West- 
wood. Somehow when the fire was 
burning you did not mind the furni¬ 
ture’s being covered with sheets. I 
had managed to bring some whisky 
and we had plenty of hot coffee and 
sandwiches and pie, and then we 
all went out to the barn and got the 
sleds and dragged them over to the 
big hill. Joe took Mary down. Bill 
took Kay, and I took Marvin. 

“Don’t be like Ethan Frome,” 
she said. “I want to live.” 

Bill and Kay tipped over half¬ 
way to the bottom of the hill. They 
rolled into a snowdrift and Bill got 
up first and pulled her up. 

“That’s what comes of not wear¬ 
ing suspenders,” I heard him shout- 
ing. 

Soon I saw that Marvin looked 
cold. 

“Let’s go back to the house,” 
she said. “ I want to see it all.” 

“All right,” I said. 

I wanted to be alone with her 
and we had never seemed to be 
alone. We walked down the lane 
past the stables and up the terraces 
where the rose bushes were all 
wrapped in straw. The house looked 



7/0 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


sad and deserted, brown and bare 
among the trees, and I tried to tell 
her how it looked in summer with 
the wistaria and ivy over it and all 
the beeches out. I took her all 
through the house, telling her little 
things about it. Her hands were 
cold when she took her mittens off 
in front of the fire. 

“There wouldn’t be anybody 
who could see us if you kissed me,” 
she said, “only the ghosts in the 
back entry.” 

When I kissed her it was not like 
winter at all. I told her it was like 
May when all the tulips were out 
in the garden. 

“You’re so sweet,” she said. “I 
wish I didn’t love you so.” 

I watched the way the fire struck 
her face, now that the white winter 
dusk from the snow was coming 
through the windows. I loved the 
way she looked in that sweater of 
mine that was too big for her. 

“You look the way I’ve always 

wanted you to,” I said. 

• * 

She leaned toward me and rested 
her hand on my knee and gazed at 
me, as though she wanted to re¬ 
member how I looked. 

“You’re going to stay here,” she 
said. She was speaking softly, but 
it sounded absolutely final, incapa¬ 
ble of shading or misinterpretation. 

“If I stay,” I said, “you’re stay¬ 
ing too.” 

“God knows why it is you’re al¬ 
ways so,” she said. “You never say 
the wrong thing, even here.” 

1 might have asked her what she 


meant if I had not heard the front 
door open. The sound of voices in 
the hall made me get up quickly 
from the bench where we had been 
sitting in front of the fire, and then 
the rest of them came in. 

“■^ou’re going to stay here,” 
Marvin had said. 

I could catch the exact inflection 
of her voice, again and again, after 
she was gone. It might have been 
easier for us both if Marvin had 
never mentioned it, easier but not 
any better. 

I always like to go over the rest 
of it quickly, to put it out of my 
mind, even now, or to scurry around 
it when it comes up. Yet all the 
time I know that I am only fooling 
myself. Nothing that has ever hap¬ 
pened to me was ever worse than 
that. 

I knew when she went away that 
I wanted to have her always. That 
was why I went to see her in New 
York — because I wanted to have 
her always. 

When I called her up after all the 
times I had thought of calling, I 
was afraid that she might be away 
somewhere, until I heard her voice. 

I sat in the library with the door 
closed, and I wondered if Hugh 
might be listening on the extension 
downstairs, and then I realized that 
I did not care who might be lis¬ 
tening, that it made no diflference 
any longer. 

“Marvin,” I said, “is that you?” 

“Who did you think it was?” 



MARVIN MYLES 


171 


1941 

she asked. “Harry, are you all 
right?” 

“I’m fine,” I said. “It's awfully 
cold here. The thermometer is 
down to 20.” 

I heard her laugh and then she 
said, “You’d better put on that 
sweater, even if it itches.” 

“Marvin,” I said, “how are 
you?” 

“I’m bearing up.” 

“Marvin, I want to see you.” 

“Then pack your bag,” she said. 
“ Come on right away.” 

“I am,” I said. “I’ll meet you 
at the office this afternoon.” 

There was a silence so long that, 
I thought she was off the wire. 

“Hello,” I said. 

“Harry,” she said, and stopped. 

“What is it?” I asked. 

“ Never mind,” she said. “ Hurry, 
won’t you? Harry — ” 

“What?” 

“How’s Hugh?” she asked. 

I could not understand why she 
asked about him until I remem¬ 
bered that she always did. 

“Hugh’s all right,” I said. 

“Darling,” Marvin said, “don’t 
forget to rinse the glasses.” 

P eople who live there keep say¬ 
ing that the great thing about 
New York is that you can do any¬ 
thing you like there and no one 
cares. I once told Bill King, when 
he made that remark, that you 
could carry the argument further, 
that no one cared whether you 
were there or not. 


When I stepped out of the ele¬ 
vator the girl at Bullard’s seemed 
puzzled for a second. She seemed 
to be thumbing backward through 
the catalogue of her mind before 
she retrieved my face from among 
others she had thrown into the 
dlSCA]*cj[ 

“Why, hello, Mr. Pulham,” she 
said. “Where are you working 
. now?” Her manner told me that I 
was through, through with it all 
for good. 

“Go right in,” she said. 

I walked into that room where I 
used to work and found Bill sitting 
at his desk, looking at some lay¬ 
outs of suspenders. Marvin was not 
there. Bill got up and we shook 
hands, but I could see that he was 
thinking of something else. 

“Where’s Marvin?” I asked. 

“Out,” Bill said. “She left a 
note. Sit down and don’t talk for a 
minute.” I sat down at Marvin’s 
desk and picked up an envelope 
and Bill began pacing up and down 
behind me. 

Come up to the apartment, 
darling [she had written]. The but¬ 
ler will let you in. It’s nicer than 
the office. 

Bill was still pacing up and down 
behind me. 

“Swansdown — Ocean Breeze. 
It’s got to be virile — Flyweight — 
Seafoam . . . Wait a minute,” he 
said. “What’s the name of that 
club you were in at Harvard?” 

“The Zephyr Club,” I said. 



i 72 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


“That's it,” said Bill. “There 
you are: The Zephyr Brace — as 
chafeless on the shoulders as a sum¬ 
mer breeze. That’s all right now. 
How are you, boy ? ” 

“I’m fine,” I said. 

“What are you doing for din¬ 
ner?” 

“I guess I’ll have dinner with 
Marvin,” I said. 

He was just asking. He knew, 
that I would want to see her. 

“All right,” Bill said. “They’re 
running me ragged here. I’ve got 
to see Bullard. Call me up to¬ 
morrow.” 

H er dress was new, though I 
cannot recall a single detail 
of it. Marvin was always more im¬ 
portant than her clothes. There was 
a bottle of champagne and two 
glasses, on the low table by the 
couch. I don’t know how long it was 
before we said anything, because 
words did not make much differ¬ 
ence as long as she was glad to see 
me, and everything was all right as 
long as she was near me. 

“T^t’s have some of the cham¬ 
pagne,” she said. “I got it down at 
Tony’s.” 

“It’s a waste,” I said. “You and 
I don’t need champagne. We don’t 
need anything.” 

But there is no use going into 
what we said'. When you are in love 
with someone, so much you say 
loses its meaning afterwards. 

“ Bill called the suspenders Zeph¬ 
yrs,” I was saying. 


I worked the cork out of the bot¬ 
tle very carefully while sUfe sat with 
her fingers on her ears, because she 
never did like sudden noises. 

“So he’s going to call them 
Zephyrs,” she said. “Did you see 
Mr. Bullard?” 

“No,” I said. 

“Well, that’s all right. You can 
have a talk with him tomorrow.” 

“No,” I said. “We’re getting 
married tomorrow.” 

“Why, darling,” she said, “we 
haven’t any place to live.” 

“There’ll be room,” I said, “un¬ 
til we find some place.” 

“Where?” she asked. “In a 
hotel?” 

I don’t know why I never saw. 
It all came down like the ceiling 
above our heads. It all came down 
like rain. 

“Not a hotel,” I said. “There’s 
plenty of room at home.” I heard 
her catch her breath sharply; it 
was just as though a light went out. 

“I couldn’t,” she said. “You 
belong to me, but I couldn’t.” She 
threw her arms around me and I 
could feel her trembling all over. 

“Why, Marvin dear, there’s 
nothing to cry about,” I said, “just 
as long as you love me.” 

“It wouldn’t work,” she said. 
“We only belong to each other 
here. You’ve got to come back to 
me bere^ 

Then before I could answer she 
was saying all sorts of things that 
hurt me. I was such a fool that I 
had thought that she liked it at 



MARVIN MYLES 


J941 

home and instead she was saying 
that she hated it, that there 
wouldn’t be anything left of her. 
She was saying that I would be 
ruined, that I wouldn’t be the per¬ 
son she had known, that we would 
end by despising each other. She 
wanted me to stay here, right here. 

“ Darling, I could make you like 
it. If you only gave me the chance 
I could make you want to stay.” 

I understood then that it was 
over, that it had always been im¬ 
possible. 

“ I have to live where I belong,” 
1 said. 

And then we were talking again, 
interrupting each other. I remem¬ 
ber how our voices rose and fell, 
with neither of us listening to the 
other, even when there was nothing 
left to say. 

I sat up straight and rubbed the 
back of my hand across my fore¬ 
head. 

“Perhaps,” Marvin said, “it’s 
just as well. You took up a lot of 
my time.” 

“You took a good deal of mine,” 
1 said. 

“I^t’s not fight any more,” she 
said, and she kissed me, but it was 
just as though neither of us were 
there. 

“I’d better go now,” I said. 

“Harry,” she called, “wait. I 
want to tell you something. No 
matter what happens, no matter 
how long it is —” Her voice broke 
and she began to cry — “I’ll always 
be waiting for you, if you want to 


m 

come back — from that damned 
place where you’re going."” 

“Good-bye, Marvin,” I said, and 
then I opened the door. 

“Harry,” she called. “Harry,” 
she called again, but I knew there 
was no use going back. The trouble 
is you can’t go back. Then the 
street door was closing behind me, 
and I was out on the street alone. 1 
felt sick and absolutely empty, as 
empty as that bottle of champagne. 
It was like her to have champagne. 

Kiss and Don\ Tell 

HAVE never talked with anyone 
about it, because I have never, 
as Kay sometimes has told me, 
been able to express emotion. More¬ 
over it was entirely my own busi¬ 
ness, mine and Marvin Myles’s. 

I took the night train home and 
the next morning I told Mr. Wilding 
that I had been down to New York 
and that I was not going back 
there again. 

“Oh,” said Mr. Wilding, “so 
you’re all through with that?” 

“Yes,” I said, “I’m all through 
with that.” 

I began to work very hard in the 
bond department because it kept 
my mind occupied. I played squash 
an hour each afternoon so that I 
would be too tired to think in the 
evening. I made myself go out and 
see people, because I never wanted 
to be by myself. 

They say that you can get over 
anything in time. I don’t believe 
you can, but given enou^ time 



m 


THE reader's DIGEST 


August 


you can put it where it belongs — 
back in your mind beneath the 
present, h'or months I must have 
been running away from the shadow 
of Marvin Myles, and if for a 
moment I stopped running she 
would catch up to me. I would wake 
up in the dark and find myself 
thinking about her. Those were the 
worst times — when there was no 
distraction. 

I F I had not gone to a house 
party in Maine over Labor Day 
I might never have become inter¬ 
ested in how Kay Motford felt 
about things. 

It was one of those parties where 
everyone knew everyone else a great 
deal better than they knew Kay or 
me. There were all sorts of local 
jokes that only people who had 
been there together could under¬ 
stand and we felt rather out of it 
all. So I found a boat and took her 
sailing. 

“Harry,” Kay said when we 
caught the breeze, “you*d better 
trim in the jib. You never keep it 
flat enough.” 

“You’ll do better if you keep her 
off a little,” I answered. 

It was a light breeze and there 
was not much to do; it was pleasant 
that neither of us had to make any 
effort. Kay was in a tennis dress 
with a soft brownish orange sweater 
pulled over it. She held the tiller 
under her left arm, and now and 
then brushed the hair away from 
her eyes. 


“Harry, we’re not either of us 
happy, are we?” she said Suddenly. 

“What makes you ask that?” I 
said. “Kay, have I been acting 
badly?” 

She smiled. I had often thought 
that her smile was mechanical, but 
now her whole face looked delicate 
and sad. 

“ It isn’t anything in the way we 
act, but if you’re unhappy you can 
tell when someone else is. It’s rather 
nice to find some9ne else. That’s all 
I mean.” There was something in 
her voice that made me look at her. 

“Why, Kay,” I said. She was 
biting her lower lip and rubbing the 
sleeve of her sweater across her 
eyes. 

“Don’t look at me,” she said. 
“I’ll be all right in a minute. It’s 
iust — it’s iust — I feel so — damn 
futile.” 

“You’d better let me take the 
boat,” I said. 

Instead of taking the tiller as I 
intended I found that I put my 
arm around her. She did not draw 
away from me. 

“I’m so tired of it,” she said, “so 
sick of it.” 

“It’s all right, Kay,” I said. “I 
know.” 

“ I didn’t mean to come out here 
and make a scene,” she said. “I 
hate people who do that. Do I look 
all right?” 

“You look beautiful,” I said. 

“You never told me that be- * 
fore,” she said. “I didn’t mean to 
be such a fool.” 



MARVIN MYLES 


1941 


m 


“You haven^t been,” I began. 
“It’s made me feel a whole lot bet¬ 
ter seeing someone else —” 

I stopped and we did not speak 
for a moment. 

“We ought to be going back 
now. I’m going to pay her oflf and 
jibe.” 

We began to talk about the boat 
and the channel. We kept looking 
at each other and looking away 
again. 

“Harry,” she said, “maybe peo¬ 
ple you’ve always known are bet¬ 
ter. You know what they’re going 
to do.” 

Now that I try to look at it hon¬ 
estly, I frankly think that Kay was ‘ 
only a symbol in a problem and 
that I was the same to her. Even 
during that autumn Kay was hon¬ 
est about it, and it all must have 
puzzled her a little. Once wh«i we 
had got to seeing a great deal of 
each other, Kay asked a question 
which used to bother me. 

“Harry,” she asked me, “do you 
think we’re falling in love — or 
just trying to fall in love?” 

She got into the habit of calling 
me up at the office. I don’t know 
when I began to wait for her to tele¬ 
phone or when I began to feel that 
something was wrong when she 
didn’t. 

“Hello,” she would say. 

“Why, hello, Kay,” I would an¬ 
swer, just as though I were sur¬ 
prised to hear her. “ What are you 
doing?” 

“I’ve just finished my orange 


juice,” Kay would say, “andRough’s 
been sick on the dining room rug.” 
Kay was fond of dogs and quite a 
lot of our conversation used to be 
about Rough’s insides. 

“Harry,” she would say, “what 
did you do after you went home?” 
And I would tell her what 1 had 
done. 

“Well, I kept on with Wells’s 
Outline of Historyy* she would say. 
“Harry, you’ll stop in, won’t you, 
on your way to play squash?” 

It began to be a habit for me to 
stop in at the Motfords’ on my way 
home, and they seemed to expect 
me to do it. The tea tray would 
always be ready in front of the fire, 
and sometimes Kay would be alone, 
and sometimes Mrs. Motford would 
be there with her. Mrs. Motford 
would ask how Mother was feeling 
and sometimes we would discuss 
Kay in a playful sort of way. Mrs. 
Motford would tell Kay she thought 
her dress was too short, even if 
dresses were getting shorter, and 
she would ask me to use my influ¬ 
ence on Kay about this or that. 
Sometimes Mr. Motford would come 
in from the club; he would always 
shake hands with me as though he 
were very pleased to see me there 
but had not expected to see me in 
the least. This all sounds dull 
enough, but there was never any 
effort about it. They just took it for 
granted that I was there to see 
Kay and that I liked to be there. 

When Christmas came Kay gave 
me some things that she said she 



jy 6 THE reader's digest August 


thought I needed — a pair of socks 
she had knitted herself and some 
neckties. 

Christmas, I suppose, is always 
a time when a good many inhibi¬ 
tions and barriers break down. That 
year it made me think of Marvin 
Myles. She seemed more real to me 
than she had been for a long while 
when I saw the crowds in front of 
the shop windows. The morning 
before Christmas there were some 
letters on my desk, one of them in 
Marvin’s writing. It was so unex¬ 
pected that I thought everyone 
must be looking at me when I 
opened it. It was a card with a 
picture of a great star over a vil¬ 
lage, and under it she had written: 

''Darling, aren't you coining back?" 

I wished she had not sent it. She 
should have known that I could 
not come back. She might as well 
have come right in there to see me. 
I seemed to be telling her that this 
was not the time or place ^ right 
outside the customers’ room, with 
the market opening in half an hour 
— but her voice kept rising. 

Darling, aren't you coming back?" 

It was just as though she did not 
want to listen to me, but kept re¬ 
peating that same appeal, regard¬ 
less of all the sights and sounds. 

'* Darling, aren't you coming back?" 

Then the telephone on my desk 
rang. I was relieved to hear it, be¬ 
cause once I was speaking I was 
back where I belonged. It was Kay. 

“How-are you?*’ she asked. 
“Busy?” 


“No,” I said, “there isn’t much 
to do before the holiday.’’* 

“ Come over early this afternoon. 
It’s an awful mess over here. We’re 
putting candles in all the front 
windows.’’ 

“All right,’’ I said. “I’ll be over 
early.’’ 

“I wish you would,’’ Kay said. 
“ I always get lonely on Christmas 
Eve.’’ 

When I hung up, Marvin’s card 
was still staring at me. I picked 
it up and tore it Across and tore it 
again and dropped it into the waste¬ 
basket. Even so 1 could not get 
away from it for quite a while. 

''Darling, aren't you coming back?" 

I BreaJc the News 

NE OF the nicest times I ever 
had was when I was engaged 
to Kay without anyone else’s know¬ 
ing it. There was no sense of respon¬ 
sibility, and nothing vague and 
uncertain, as there had been with 
Marvin Myles. Kay and 1 sat down 
with a paper and pencil and figured 
how much we would have to live 
on, and how we wanted to live. We 
seemed to have a good many of 
the same ideas — the same tastes 
in furniture, the same ways of 
spending our time. We both wanted 
a boat and we each wanted a car. 
We both liked unsalted butter and 
a lot of cream, and we agreed that 
it would be fun to have a farm and 
horses some day. 

Still, there is something positive 
about marriage that must make 




MARVIN MYLES 


1941 

anyone falter; and somehow before 
everything was absolute, I wanted 
to see Bill King. There was no rea¬ 
son for it, because I was awfully 
glad that I was going to marry Kay. 
Nevertheless it seemed to me that 
if once I saw Bill King I would be 
absolutely sure. So at last I told 
Kay that I had to go down to New 
York just for a day on business. 

The new firm where Bill was 
working was on the 20th floor of a 
building on Forty-Second Street. 
Bill had his own office now, and a 
Jacobean table with three tele¬ 
phones, and his own secretary. 

“Hello, Harry,” Bill said. “Just 
sit down and wait a minute,” and 
he began pacing up and down on a 
soft carpet. 

“Why didn’t you tell me you 
had a place like this^ Bill?” I 
asked. 

“It’s quite a layout, isn’t it?” 
Bill said. “It’s all eyewash, though. 
It gets the boys from Detroit. Don’t 
interrupt me.” He began pacing 
up and down again. 

“Miss Prentice, take a mem^i to 
get Burton’s Arabian Nights —every 
driver his own Caliph of Bagdad.” 

“Bill,” I said, “are you going 
crazy?” 

“Listen, Harry,” Bill said, “you’ve 
got to get out of here. You know 
how it is when I’m working. Come 
around to the apartment at half¬ 
past five.” 

** What apartment?” I asked. 

“ My new apartment — an apart- 
sinent and a Jap. His name is Horu- 


177 

chi. Call up the apartment. Miss 
Prentice, and tell Horuchi that Mr. 
Pulham’s going up there. I’ll be 
there at half-past five, and we’ll get 
Marvin.” 

“Bill,” I said, “never mind about 
Marvin Myles.” 

“Don’t you want to see her?” 

“I just want to talk to you. Bill,” 
I said. 

“All right,” Bill said. “Just snap 
over to the apartment, Harry. I’ll 
see you at half-past five. . . .” 

When I saw his apartment I 
knew that he must be making a lot 
of money. There was a big theatri¬ 
cal studio sort of room with a bed¬ 
room off it and a Japanese in a 
white coat. Before Bill arrived a 
blonde girl came in. She said her 
name was Franchine Parke, but I 
could call her Franchine, and I told 
her I was a friend of Bill’s. 

“Bill does have some of the 
damnedest friends,” she said. 

“Bill must be doing awfully 
well,” I said. 

“I’ll say he’s doing well.” 

“Bill’s awfully clever,” I said. 

“Clever? Why, Bill’s as slick as 
an eel. You can’t two-time Bill.” 

Horuchi gave us each a cocktail, 
and then another. 

“I certainly don’t want to two- 
time Bill,” I said. 

“Who said I said I wanted to?” 
Franchine said. 

“I didn’t say you said you 
wanted to,” I said. 

“Well, then what have you been 
saying?” 



178 


THE reader’s digest 


August 


“God knows/* I said. 

“YouVe kind of dumb/* Fran- 
chine said, “but you*re kind of 
sweet.’’ 

“ You know that’s funny,’’ I told 
her. “A lot of girls have said that 
about me.’’ 

“That means you’re that way 
with girls. Are you that way with 
girls?’’ 

J list then Horuchi hurried to the 
door and let Bill in. He tossed his 
hat and coat to Horuchi and then 
he looked at me and laughed. 

“ Hello, Billy,’’ Franchine said. 

“Hello/* Bill said, “how did you 
get here?’’ 

“Because you asked me,’’ Fran¬ 
chine said, “you big bum.’’ 

“I remember now,*’ Bill said. “I 
can’t remember everything,’’ and 
then he looked at me and laughed 
again. “Well, well, here we are.’’ 

“And what do we do now?’’ 
Franchine asked. 

“Listen, sweetie,” Bill said, 
“just run into the bedroom and 
}X)wder your nose. Harry’s an out- 
of-town boy and I want to talk to 
him.” 

“I want to talk to Harry, too,” 
Franchine said. 

Bill walked over to the couch 
and picked Franchine up. Horuchi 
opened the bedroom door. 

“Go in there and stay there,” 
Bill said. “I/>ck her in, Horuchi.” 

He rubbed the palm of his hand 
over his hair. 

“This has been quite a day,” 
Bill said. 


“Who’s Franchine?” I a^ked. 

“Oh, she isn’t anything,” Bill 
said. “Don’t look so worried, boy.” 

“I’m not worried,” I said. 

“Oh, yes, you are,” said Bill. 
“You’ve got to learn to bcr toler¬ 
ant.” 

“I’m perfectly tolerant,” I said. 

“Well, that’s fine,” Bill said. 
“How are you?” 

“I’m all right. Bill. I’m awfully 
happy.” 

“WTiy?” Bill asked. “What should 
make you happy?” , 

“Because I’m engaged. Bill,” I 
said. 

“Engaged?” Bill repeated. He 
stopped. Franchine was beating 
with her fists against the bedroom 
door. “Do I know her?” 

“Yes,” I said. “It’s Kay.” 

Bill walked over to the table and 
set his glass down. 

“Kay?” he repeated. “You’re 
engaged to Kay?” 

I was surprised that he was so 
slow about it, when his mind usu¬ 
ally worked so fast. 

“Yes,” I said. “You remember 
her — Kay — Cornelia Motford.” 

“Naturally I remember her,” 
Bill answered. “You’ve certainly 
tied yourself up if you’re engaged 
to Kay.” He stared at me for a 
minute. “Yes, you’ve certainly tied 
yourself up.” 

His whole attitude, his clothes 
and his apartment, made me angry. 

“If you want to know,” I said, 
“ I’m glad that a girl like Kay wants 
to marry me.” 



MARVIN MYLES 


ig4r 


m 


Bill’s cheeks grew red. 

'‘Harry,” he said, “I don’t know 
why, but I’m awfully fond of you.” 

“That goes with me. Bill,” I 
said. “You’ll be my best man, won’t 
you?” 

Then Bill held out his hand. 

“Don’t think I’m not glad,” he 
said. “ Kay’s a great girl. Be sure to 
give her my love.” 

“Yes, I will,” I said. 

“Have you told Marvin Myles?” 

“No,” I said. 

“All right,” Bill said. “I’ll tell 
her.” 

Its a Long, Long Ti^alkr 

RS. Motford said that there 
was nothing like a country 
wedding and so we were going to 
be married at the Motford family 
place at Concord. Bill King came 
down a day ahead, in time for the 
ushers’ dinner. “ You needn’t think 
of anything,” he said, “and the less 
you think, the better.” He took 
charge of the ring and the gold 
piece for the minister, and saw 
about having my trunks checked. 

“If this ever happens to me,” 
Bill said, “I’ll do it before a judge.” 

“Maybe you’re right,” I said, 
“but Kay couldn’t do that.” 
“That’s so,” Bill agreed. 

In the morning just before the 
wedding Bill said, “You’d better 
take a drink.” 

“No,” I said. “I never drink in 
the morning.” 

“Well, if I were going through 
what you’re going through I would,” 


Bill said, and he went into the bath¬ 
room for a glass. 

“You act as though you were 
getting married yourself,” I told 
him. 

Then Bill and I were out by the 
altar and everyone was standing up 
and all the ushers and bridesmaids 
were walking up the aisle. I saw 
that Mother and Mrs. Motford 
were both crying. Then I saw Mr. 
Motford, and Kay, holding her 
father’s arm and looking straight 
ahead. Then the music stopped and 
the clergyman began to read. 

“Dearly beloved, we are gath¬ 
ered together here—” 

The air was heavy with flowers, 
the way it always is at funerals and 
weddings, and I wondered what 
Kay was thinking as she stood be¬ 
side me. 

“I do,” I heard myself saying. 

E ven when Kay and I were on 
the train in our drawing room, 
we did not seem to be by ourselves. 
All we could talk about was the 
wedding. All the way to New York 
and over the dinner we had served 
in the drawing room we talked about 
it. Every now and then our glances 
met in a strange sort of astonish¬ 
ment, and I remembered that we 
would be going away tomorrow on 
an ocean voyage. I had heard that 
times like this frighten girls, and I 
hoped she was not frightened. I 
wanted to tell her not to be, but she 
seemed to be taking it all for 
granted, still talking about the 




THE reader’s digest 


i8o 


August 


wedding. When we began to see the 
city lights in the dark outside the 
windows little silences fell between 
us which we both joined in strug¬ 
gling against. 

“ Kay," I said, “I'm awfully glad 
we’re married." I took her hand. 

“So am I," she said. “I wonder 
what’s happened to Bill? I’m 
afraid he’s got awfully drunk." 

“Bill’s all right," I said. 

Then the porter pressed the little 
button by the door and Kay pulled 
her hand away. 

“Harry," she said, “have you 
got all the ribbons off the bags?” 

“Yes,” I said. The porter came 
in smiling. We would be at the 
Grand Central in a few minutes 
now. 

“He knows we’re just married," 
Kay said. “I hope everybody isn’t 
going to think that we’re just 
married.” 

“There’s no reason why anyone 
should,” I answered. “I feel as 
though we had been married for 
quite a while.” 

Kav looked at herself in the mir- 
ror and pulled on her gloves. 

“When we get to the hotel,” she 
said, “ I’ll take off my glove so they 
can see my ring.” 

“It’s going to be all right," I 
said. “You just stay with the bags 
and I’ll go up to the desk.” 

“Harry,” she said, “won’t you 
please kiss me?” 

“ Why, yes, of course,” I said. 

“Don’t say ‘of course’! Just kiss 


We had a reservation* at the ho¬ 
tel. When the bellboys left us, my 
• suitcase rested on the luggage stand 
in front of one twin bed and Kay’s 
was on the other. The bedroom was 
clean and impersonal. The bath¬ 
room was white and shining. 

“Well," Kay said, “it’s awfully 
nice," but she didn’t look at me. 
She sat down in front of the dress¬ 
ing table and took olF her hat with 
a quick decisive little jerk. 

“Here’s the sitting room,” I said. 
“We haven’t seen that yet.” We 
walked into the little sitting room. 

“Oh,” Kay said, “it’s lovely.” 

“It isn’t bad," I said. “You 
must be awfully tired." 

“I’m not tired exactly," she an¬ 
swered, “but I suppose we’ll have 
to get up early tomorrow.” 

“Well,” I said, “I’m not tired at 
all. I think I’ll sit here and read for 
about half an hour — in case you 
want to go to bed." 

Kay had been examining a pic¬ 
ture of Versailles very carefully; 
when she turned away from it she 
was smiling. 

“Hany,” she said, “I’ll bet you’ve 
been thinking of that speech for 
hours. Is that why you took the 
sitting room? Is it?" 

“Well, in a way,” I said. 

“All right,” Kay said. “I’ll call 
you." 

I sat down and opened a book, 
but I did not have time to begin 
reading before she called me from 
the bedroom. 

“Yes,” I said, “what is it, Kay?” 


me. 



MARVIN MYLES 


1941 

Something in her voice had startled 
me, but nothing was the matter. 

“ Do you mind leaving the door 
open so we can talk?” 

“Of course,” I said. I heard her 
draw her breath in sharply. 

“Harry —” she began. “Oh, never 
mind.” 

“Go ahead,” I said. “What is it?” 

“Harry, I’m not sure we love 
each other.” 

“What?” I said. 

“I’m not sure. Wouldn’t it be 
awful if we thought we loved each 
other and really didn’t? What I 
really mean is — if we only got 
married because we thought we 
ought to!” 

She was thinking just what I was 
thinking and she had not been 
afraid to say it. 

“Kay,” I said, “maybe every¬ 
body feels that way. Maybe millions 
and millions of people always have,” 
and then I put my arms around 
her and kissed her. “Don’t worry. 
Everything’s all right, Kay.” 

“It’s all right as long as you’re 
here,” Kay said. “ You won’t leave 
me, will you ? ” 

“No,” I said. 

“Not ever?” 

“No,” I said. 

“And you’ll leave the door open, 
won’t you, while you’re reading?” 

“Yes, of course,” I said. 

“Darling,” Kay said, “it’s just 
a little thing, but could you just 
stop saying ‘of course’?” 

“Why, yes, Kay,” I said, “of 
course.” 


iS-i 

Rhinelander Four-^ ... 

I T SEEMS Strange that anything like 
that could come up years later. 
Kay and I happened to be moving 
a set of books in our library, and 
when she picked up a volume of 
Plutarch two leaves of writing paper 
fluttered onto the carpet. 

“Why, it’s a letter,” Kay said. 
She picked up a page, and then I 
remembered. That was where I had 
hidden those two letters from Mar¬ 
vin Myles which I should have 
burned up long ago. Kay was hold¬ 
ing the sheet of paper under the 
light. Her face had changed. Her 
voice had changed. 

“Why, Harry,” she said, ‘*oh, 
Harry! It*s a love letter!** 

I might have known that she 
would find out about those letters 
some day, because Kay always ac¬ 
cidentally found out everything 
which I tried to hide. 

My dearesty dearest darlingy* Kay 
was reading. “Why, Harry, who 
ever sent you that ? Fve been 
thinking of you all day long, and Fll 
think of you all tonight even when 
Fm asleep F 

“Kay,” I said, “give me that 
letter.” 

Kay put the letter behind her 
back. 

“Why, Harry,” she said, “I wish 
you could see yourself! Why, what 
did you do to her to make her write 
to you like that?” 

“Give me that letter, Kay,” I 
said. ‘*I won’t have you read it.” 



i82 


THE reader’s digest 


Aupist 


I could tell from the way she 
looked at me that I had lost all 
sense of perspective and proportion. 

“Oh, won*t you?” she said. “Well, 
I’m going to find out who wrote it.” 

“Never mind who,” I said. 

“Well,” Kay said, “I know who. 
It’s that thin, overdressed girl from 
New York, isn’t it?” 

“Kay,” I said, “I should have 
burnt that letter long ago. Now, 
give it to me, please.” 

“Why, Harry,” Kay said, “you’re 
still in love with her!” 

“How do you mean,” I asked, 
“I’m still in love with her? Why, 
she’s married now, and I haven’t 
seen her for years.” 

“You’re in love with her,” Kay 
said. “She’s crazy about you. She’s 
always been.” 

“Give me that letter,” I said. 
Kay backed away from me. I did 
not want to be rough, but she was 
not to have that letter. I took her 
hand in both of mine and began 
opening her fingers. 

“You’re hurting me,” she said. 

“Then give it to me,” I answered. 

It was the first time that Kay and 
I had ever been through anything 
like that. The letter fell on the floor 
and she wrenched her hand away. 

“Oh, take your damned letter,” 
she said. 

Before I could speak she had 
jerked open the library door. I 
heard the telephone in the parlor 
ringing. It rang four times before 
Kay answered it. 

“Oh, Mrs. Smithfield,” Kay was 


saying, “I’m so glad to*hear your 
voice. No, I’m not a bit busy. 
. . . Yes, we had a lovely sum¬ 
mer. . . . Why, let me see — Fri¬ 
day? . . . Why, no, we’re not doing 
anything at all. We’d love to come 
to dinner.” 

I stooped and picked up the let¬ 
ter. I could not remember ever 
having been so angry. It was like 
pulling a thread and having a whole 
piece of cloth unravel. 

What shook me most, however, 
was not my anger. Was it conceiv¬ 
able that I could be in love with 
Marvin Myles after all these years 
of being married to Kay? For peri¬ 
ods of months I had never thought 
of her. It’s true there had been 
times when 1 had called her back 
deliberately into my thoughts. She 
had come to me on sleepless nights. 
She had walked with me invisibly, 
and I had lived over every hour we 
had known together. Perhaps this 
had been wrong, but I do not se^ 
how I could have helped it. I knew 
every word of that letter of hers 
by heart, and now I found myself 
reading over a part of it I liked 
best: 

You know, don’t you, that I’m 
only running on this way because 
I love you? . . . you know you 
have someone, someone forever and 
always, someone you can always 
come back to, dear, any time or 
anywhere. . . . 

I folded the letter carefully, and 
then I kissed it. The pages smelled 
old and musty. 



MARVIN MYLES 


1941 

When I realized what I was 
thinking, its absurdity began to 
bring me to my senses. Yet I could 
reach for the telephone and call 

her. . . . 

What I needed was some exercise 
and a good cold shower. I straight¬ 
ened my coat and went through the 
parlor. Kay was sitting on the sofa 
with her engagement calendar on 
her knee. 

“Harry,” Kay asked, “where are 
you going?” 

Her voice meant that she was 
going to be nice again, but some¬ 
how it made no difference. 

“I’m just going over to the 
Squash Club,” I told her. “I want ■ 
to get some exercise.” 

“Why, darling,” Kay said, “you’ll 
be late for dinner.” 

“Fm going out for dinner,” I 
said. 

“Oh, Harry, dear,” Kay said, 
“please! Please, don’t take it out 
pn me.” 

“ Fm going out, Kay,” I said. 

“Oh, Harry,” Kay said, “please!” 

“No,” I said, “Fm going out.” 

At the Squash Club 1 began 
shouting for Louis. Pretty soon 
Louis came in a clean white coat 
and I asked him to call the profes¬ 
sional, because I wanted a workout 
before dinner. 

Gus, the professional, played 
hard, but I was able to give him a 
good game. The black ball kept 
going up against the white wall, 
whang, whang, whang, like a bul¬ 
let. When you play a game, play it 


with all your heart and soul. I was 
playing it that way, but just the 
same part of me was somewhere 
else with Marvin Myles. Wham, the 
ball went. 

** Someone you can always come 
back tOy dear^ any time or anywhere^ 

“Yow,” Gus shouted. 

I was wondering what would 
happen if I called her up, just cas¬ 
ually, to ask her how she was. 

“Thirteen-twelve,” Gus called. 
“Let’s go.” 

I could not understand what was 
possessing me. In the first place, 
she was married and I was married 
and you did not call up married 
women long distance to New York. 

** Darlings arerCt you coming 
backr 

After the game I turned on the 
?old water hard, and when it 
struck me it nearly took my breath 
away. I stayed under it until I was 
icy cold, but when I w^s out the 
blood raced through me. I had a 
Martini while I was dressing. 

“Louis,” I called, “have you got 
a New York telephone directory?” 

“Yes, Mr. Pulham,” Louis said. 

I began turning over the pages 
of the book. Her married name was 
Ransome — John Ransome; busi¬ 
ness address, Broadway; residence. 
Park Avenue; Rhinelander 4- . . . 

“Louis,” I said, “give me an¬ 
other Martini.” 

The number was Rhinelander 
4- ... I was in the booth in the 
hall dialing the operator; it was too 
late to stop. 



THE reader’s digest 


"New York City,” I said, "Rhine¬ 
lander 4- . . 

"Hold the line, please,” the 
operator answered. 

Suppose she was there, what 
under the sun was 1 going to say to 
her? How in God's name could I 
explain to her why I was calling 
her up? 

"Ready with New York,” the 
operator was saying. "Boston call¬ 
ing Rhinelander 4- . . .” 

I heard a resonant voice, saying: 
"Hello; Mr. Ransome's apartment.” 
That would be the butler. Marvin 
had always said she was going to 
have a butler. 

"Is Mrs. Ransome in?” I asked. 

"Mrs. Ransome is at dinner.” 

I felt steadier. 


"Oh, well, if she’s at dinner,” I 
said, "I won’t disturb her.” 

"Who shall I say called, sir?” 

“Never mind,” I said. "I won't 
disturb her,” and I hung up. 

Then I pulled out my handker¬ 
chief and mopped my forehead. It 
was all over, and I had done what I 
was going to do — I had called her 
up. It was all over — and that was 
that. All of a sudden I felt fine. I 
began to wonder,what Kay was 
doing. 

"Well,” I said, "that’s that.” 
Of course I could call her up in an 
hour when she had finished dinner, 
but I knew I would not. I had been 
on a long and dangerous journey 
and now I was safely back, and 
Marvin Myles was gone. 


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j4m article a day’—oi endutii^ significance; in CQn<knsed, pennanem booldec focm 



O N THE NIGHT of Wednesday, 
August 21, 1940, the Afi- 
glo-Saxon^ a British tramp 
steamer loaded with coal for South 
America, had left the Azores 500 
miles behind and was making its 
way steadily in a southwesterly 
direction through a choppy swell. 
The night was pitch black, with 
low clouds scurrying across the sky. 

Suddenly four explosions, so close 
together that they seemed one, 
shook the ship from stem to stern. 
A quarter of a mile away a dark 
sha^ raced toward her, guns flashing. 

The first salvo from the raider 
killed everyone in the /inglo^SAXon*s 
,Starboard £o*castle. Then a hail of 
lead and steel rak^ her fore and 


A condensation from the book by 
Guy Pearce Jones 


It has seldom happened that a 
narrative so circumstantial, so en¬ 
tirely stripped of all hiiml^ and 
false sentiment, has come ^ut of the 
depths of the sea to inspire ps with 
admiration for human valor. This 
story of seven men in an open boat, 
if it proves nothing else, shows how 
little the breed of seamen lias de¬ 
teriorated since the greatest days of 
Britain’s maritime glory. 

— From the intnxluctioo by William McFce 


aft. The lifeboats were set afire, the 
radio antennas shot away. 

Two men crouching in the lee of 
the bridge saw the port jolly-boat 
being lowered and scrambled into 









THE READER'S DIGEST 


it. When it hit the water three men 
slid down the life line; a moment 
later two others dropped in from 
the boat deck. 

The boat cleared the churning pro¬ 
peller blades by inches, and drifted 
within a hundred feet of the raider, 
'rhe men crouched like hunted ani¬ 
mals and scarcely breathed. Near 
the Anglo-Saxon lights suddenly 
appeared, bobbing up and down 
on the waves. The life rafts! The 
raider swung its guns, and the bob¬ 
bing lights went out. The rafts and 
the men clinging to them had been 
obliterated. 

The white finger of a search¬ 
light reached out and swept the 
stricken Anglo-Saxon. Incendiary 
bullets played on the wreckage of 
the wireless room; no one was to 
live to send a message. Then the 
ship’s bow rose almost perpendic¬ 
ular; as she went down by the stern, 
the raider headed off into the night. 

The%;veh .survivors of the Anglo- 
Saxon* s irew of 40 huddled mis¬ 
erably through the night • in the 
jolly-boat. At dawn they could see 
nothing save empty miles of ocean 
and sky. 

The Chief Mate, First Officer 
C. B. Denny, took over command. 
His first concern was for the wounded. 
R. H. Pilcher, the “Second Sparks,” 
was the most severely hurt. Shrap¬ 
nel had torn through his left foot, 
^ith the aid of the Third Engineer, 
l^slie Hawkes, the Mate cleaned 
parks’ mangled foot in sea water 


September 

as best he could. They nyved him 
forward into the bowsheets. 

Gunner Richard Penny’s right 
hip was badly torn by shrapnel. 
Leslie Morgan, the second cook, 
had a jagged tear just above his 
right ankle. Seaman Robert Tap- 
scott had a front tooth broken off, 
exposing the nerve,* and Seaman 
Roy Widdicombe’s hand had been 
severely bruised when it was 
jammed in the block while the boat 
was being lowered. 

With the wounded men fixed as 
comfortably as possible, the Mate 
set a course west-southwest for the 
Leeward Islands — 2800 miles in an 
18-foot open boat! But they had to 
go that way; wind and current were 
against their going east. The able 
men bailed the boat, got in the sea 
anchor, stepped the stubby mast 
and set sail. Then they took stock 
of supplies. For food they had three 
6-pound tins of boiled mutton, 11 
tins of condensed milk and 32 
pounds of ship biscuit. The water 
•breaker was a little over half full — 
about four gallons. 

Only Sparks had been able to 
bring anything away from the ship. 
He had a Rolls razor, a pound of 
tobacco, a pipe, his operator’s log 
and time sheets, and a book of 
Bible quotations, one for every day 
of the year. The men used the latter 
for cigarette paper, and always 
read the “motto” before absorbing 
it in smoke. The Mate made hini^ 
self a log book with the back 


Copyright /p//, and puhtished at $2 hy Random Heustf Ine. 
20 E. St.f If. T. C. 



TWO SURVIVED 


S 


1941 


■'Sparks’ time sheets. For calendar 
he cut notches in the gunwale. 

They had their first food that 
evening at six: a ship biscuit 
apiece. Their first drink came at 
sunup of the second day. The Mate 
set half a dipper of water, morning 
and evening, a little of the con¬ 
densed milk with it, and half a 
“ biscuit, morning and evening,- as 
each man’s daily ration. 

They made fair progress until 
Sunday, when the wind dropped 
and the boat lost way. All that day 
they drifted aimlessly, the sun shin¬ 
ing down intensely on them. Their 
bodies were already so dehydrated 
it was impossible to swallow the 
hard biscuit without wetting it first. 

Pilcher and Morgan were suffer- 
• ing increasing pain. Their lacerated 
feet had swollen and it was neces¬ 
sary to loosen their bandages. When 
this was done the horrible stench 
of gangrene permeated the boat. 

At six o’clock the Mate doled out 
water. Then “Sunday treat,” he 
said. “Mutton for dinner today.” 
The men watched fascinated while 
he opened the tin and divided half 
' its contents. They ate it carefully, 
making every morsel count. It was 
more cheering than drink. 

But the next day — and the next 
— the men in the becalmed boat 
suffered fearfully. The burning sun 
was torture, and those who took 
shelter under the canvas boat cover 


closed up; their skin scorched and 
crisped; salivation ceased. The morn¬ 
ing half-dipper of water, gulped 
with such eagerness, was like a drop 
on a blotter. 

The able men bailed sea water 
over the wounded, and then went 
over the side themselves, being care¬ 
ful to keep their faces out of water 
lest they yield to the desire to drink. 
Their bodies took up water through 
the pores and saliva returned to 
their mouths, but the relief did not 
last. 

On the evening of the seventh 
day, to buck up morale, the Mate 
held a lottery. Seven days — Sep¬ 
tember 9 to 15 — were listed as 
those upon which they would be 
picked up or make a landfall. The 
men’s names were then written on 
slips of paper, scrambled in Sparks’ 
cap, and drawn by the cook. The 
losers were to buy the winner all 
the drinks he could conspm^ 

The lottery was a gr^t access. 
The men were vociferous in cracked 
and raucous voices over the dates 
they had drawn, and settled down 
for the night still arguing the matter. 
The mere act of holding a lottery 
based on their rescue seemed, some¬ 
how, to assure the fact. 

Next day the wind was strong 
and the sea boisterous. They bowled 
along handily, making fine time 
and shipping buckets of water. No 
one cared about the water. They 


found them^lves in an oven. They made ready for a wet night cheer- 
'^’^re very thirsty now. Their pores, fully. This, they told themselves 
denied any liquid, to evaporate, in voices croaking with thirst, was 



4 

the last lap. But they couldn’t 
sleep. Pilcher was delirious, and 
his bursts of hysterical laughter 
and singing and invectives gave 
them no rest. 

In the morning they decided that 
amputation was the only hope of 
saving his life. But the sole avail¬ 
able implement was an axe — dull 
and rusty — and they had no an¬ 
tiseptic or anesthetic. 

Pilcher was lucid, though very 
weak. He agreed bravely to the 
operation, but at the last moment 
even the Mate’s resolute nerve failed 
him. 

“Carry on, old boy,” he said. 
“We’re certain to be picked up 
soon and a proper doctor will make 
it right for you.” 

Pilcher smiled weakly and closed 
his eyes. When they took him his 
ration of water he told them to 
give it to someone who needed it 
more than he. At eight o’clock the 
next moi:|iihg he died, silently and 
unobtrusively. The men looked at 
one another incredulously. So soon! 
It couldn’t be possible. They stood 
impotently by, overwhelmed by 
the awful finality of death. In curt, 
low orders the Mate arranged all 
that was left to do. Tapscott and 
the Third lifted the body over the 
gunwale and lowered it gently into 
the sea. They had nothing to wrap 
it in and nothing with which to 
weight it. It drifted away on the 
swell. They watched it until they 
- fould see it no more. 

^ On the nth day the Mate suf- 


September 

fered some sort of internal collapse. 
Nausea and cramps seized him. 
His face was livid and lined with 
pain. His flesh, even where burned 
by the sun, had a lifeless, claylike 
appearance. In a hand that could 
just trace the letters he made his 
last log entry: Suggestion for life¬ 
boat stocks: At the very least, two 
breakers of water, tins of fruit such 
as peaches, apricots, pears, etc.” 

On September 4 the Mate was so 
weak he could scarcely move. He 
could no longer command. They 
drank their last meager ration of 
water at noon. A little later the 
boat suddenly yawed. There was 
no one at the helm. Penny, the 
gunner, who had just taken the 
tiller, was floating face downward 
some distance from the boat. It 
was useless to try to reach him. 

Two days later there was still no 
sign of rain. And, as if to put the 
seal of finality on disaster, the 
rudder was carried away by a heavy 
swell. They shipped the steering 
oar in its stead. 

After long hours, the Mate raised 
himself on his elbow and said from 
swollen and discolored lips: “I’m 
going over. Who’s coming with me?” 

“I’ll go,” the Third said. 

The Mate turned his eyes to the 
others: one by one they shook their 
heads. But the dread of what they 
must see overwhelmed them. They 
stared at the self-condemned men. 

“Just a minute,” the Third said^ 
almost gaily. “I’m going to have 
something to eat and drink.” He 


THE READER^S DIGEST 



TWO SURVIVED 


S 


1941 


^dipped a can of water from the sea 
and gulped it down greedily. Then 
he softened a biscuit in sea water 
and ate it. 

The Mate drew off his signet ring 
and handed it to Widdicombe. 
“Give it — my mother — if you 
get through,” he gasped. “And 
keep going west —” 

► The Mate and the Third strutted 
over to the port gunwale. There 
was a splash. . . . 

The three meh who now sur¬ 
vived had nothing to maintain life 
— they had no water, and without 
water the biscuits were useless. 
Morgan was out of his head mo§^ 
of the time, and Tapscott and Wid¬ 
dicombe were too weak to steer for 
more than an hour at a stretch. 
But they clung to life tenaciously, 
husbanding what little strength 
remained. 

Then one morning Morgan got 
up from where he had been lying 
in the bow and announced in a 
clear, casual voice: “I think I’ll go 
down the street for a 
drink.” He walked aft 
rapidly, and stepped over 
the side. When his body 
reappeared it was being 
carried away by the swell. 

He made no more move¬ 
ment, no outcry.* Tap¬ 
scott and Widdicombe 
stared at each other. Of 
the seven men who got 
away from the Anglo^ 

Saxon they alone were left. 


By noon their thirst was so ter¬ 
rible that Tapscott could stand the 
torture no longer. He drank a little 
sea water. Immediately he was 
shaken with a paroxysm of vomit¬ 
ing, after which he lay quietly for 
a long time. 

Cramping pains tore at W'iddi- 
coinbe’s entrails, stretching him 
stiff in the bottom of the boat. He 
rolled about in agony, clutching 
at his belly and bursting into bel¬ 
lows of insane rage and hysterical 
imprecation. 

The sun crossed the meridian and 
moved snail-like down the sky. As 
the heat diminished their suffering 
lightened and they lay in grateful 
stupor. When the sun rose the next 
morning they knew it was day — 
and little more. The boat had lost 
all way. It wallowed gently on an 
oily sea under a hot and humid 
sky. The tempo of the elements 
slowed down to the faint pulse of 
life in the boat. ,; 

Tapscott roused himsu^f dully. 
“Oh, God damn it all,” he said. 

“I’m going over. Are you 
with me?” 

Widdicombe nodded 
faintly. He lowered him¬ 
self over the side and 
dung to the life line. 
Tapscott plunged into the 
water. Automatically, he 
floated. The cool water 
seemed to be saturating 
him; the shock stung his 
deadened nerves into 
action. When he looked 




6 THE READER S DIGEST September 


up, he was five or six feet behind 
the boat. Widdicombe was still 
dinging to the life line. 

“Come on,” Tapscott called. VVid- 
dicombe gave no sign of hearing. 

“Let go,” Tapscott said. Widdi¬ 
combe did not move. 

Tapscott went into a laborious 
crawl. He was surprised to find 
that he could swim. W^hcn he came 
alongside the boat he said: “Why 
don’t you let go?” 

Widdicombe shook his head 
violently. 

Tapscott felt a rush of rage. 
Widdicombe wasn’t playing fair! 
He, too, took hold of the life line. 

Hanging from the rope Tapscott 
and Widdicombe argued the matter. 
Having once made up his mind, 
Tapscott was determined to go.But 
he wasn’t going without Widdi¬ 
combe. And Widdicombe’s pain had 
passed; immersion was making him 
feel much better. 

“If you’i:e strong enough to swim 
that far,” he pointed out, “you’re 
strong enough to go on some more.” 

Tapscott reflected that this was 
true. By this time he was quite will¬ 
ing to be convinced. With much 
effort, they got themselves back 
into the boat and crawled under 
the boat cover. They felt that they 
had been accorded a new lease on life. 

Then Tapscott had an idea. Why 
not drink the alcohol in the com¬ 
pass? They decanted it into two 
condensed milk tins, about three 
quarters of a water glass each. As 
if standing each other a go in a 


Newport pub they sat opposite 
each other on the |hwarts and 
drank. The alcohol rasped their 
raw throats and burned their in¬ 
testines. But it was liquid. 

Several swallows and they grinned 
at each other. Peril and pain were 
forgotten. They laughed and ragged 
each other in strange, throaty croaks, 
their misshapen mouths grinning- 
like gargoyles. They recalled fa¬ 
mous binges in foreign ports. When 
the alcohol was gone they rolled 
over and went to sleep. It was the 
first relaxed sleep they had had 
since leaving their blazing ship. 

lowardmorning they were roused 
by a terrific peal of thunder. A 
moment later there was a splatter 
of drops on the boat cover. Rain! 

The fresh water sluiced down in 
steady, heavy sheets, quickly mak¬ 
ing a good puddle in the canvas 
cover they laid across the thwarts. 
They poured water down their 
throats by the canful, spilling it 
out of the corners of their mouths, 
down their chins and chests, with 
joyful, gluttonous, animal noises. 
Never had they known such pleas¬ 
ure in drink. Then they drained - 
the water — about six gallons — 
off the canvas into a tank. 

Their thirst quenched, they were 
aware of the first recognizable hun¬ 
ger they had felt in days. They 
soaked sea biscuit in water and ate 
it. Life flowed back into them. 
They were very weak, but the tide^ 
definitely, had changed. Widdu^' 
combe was jubilant. 



TWO SURVIVED 


1941 

^ “I knew we’d make it,” he de¬ 
clared. “I knew it the moment we 
got back into the boat. If we 
couldn’t go then, it stands to reason 
we’re going to O.K.” 

This was September 12, their 
'23rd day in the boat. 

For six days the breeze held, and 
for six days they had all the water 
they wanted. They were so pro¬ 
foundly pleased to have cheated 
death from thirst they laughed at 
their hunger. They scraped up the 
shreds of Sparks’ tobacco, filled the 
pipe and managed a few whiffs each. 

But now the quality of the heat 
seemed more punishing, and the 
air heavier, more humid. The di¬ 
rect rays of noon burned and stung 
like heated needles. By the morn¬ 
ing of September 18 they had 
reached the bottom of the water 
tank again. But it did not seem so 
bad as before. They had learned 
a technique of suffering. Rain came 
early on the morning of the 20th. 
They rigged the cover and drank 
copiously. While the tank was 
tilling they soaked six biscuits 
each in rain water. Their supply 
was getting low, but they had been 
without food for two days. 

They had no suspicion that miles 
and miles of Atlantic lay between 
them and the nearest land. On 
September 24, they dribbled the 
last of the water into their cans. 
They fumbled in the biscuit tank, 
*but it yielded only broken bits and 
crumbs. They were now completely 
without food or water. 


7 

The five weeks that followed were 
like a long, bad dream. One day 
followed another in an unvarying 
pattern of hunger, sun and sea, an 
indistinguishable blur in the con¬ 
tinuity of their suffering. 

Rainfall became fairly frequent, 
but for many days they had noth¬ 
ing to eat. Then one day they heard 
a thud against the sail, and a des¬ 
perate flapping in the boat. To 
their incredulous joy a flying fish 
had leaped aboard. Tapscott got 
out Sparks’ razor and cut it in 
two. He took the head half. Wid- 
dicombe had the other. They ate 
every scrap, eyes, bones and fins. 

Later they encountered great 
patches of seaweed, and were de¬ 
lighted to find a tiny variety of 
crab in its meshes. There were, 
also, a small shrimp and some 
shellfish. They winnowed out a 
large number of these, but it took 
hours of work to make a meal. 

On October 9, a leaden, drizzly 
day, they sighted a large steamer, 
not more than a half mile away, 
bearing south. They stood up in 
the boat, waving their arms and 
shouting. They swung their oars, 
semaphore fashion, and blew the 
Mate’s whisde until they were breath¬ 
less. The liner steamed steadily 
ahead. 

Tapscott and Widdicombe col¬ 
lapsed on the seats, completely 
spent. Their hearts were beating as 
if to burst; their lungs heaved and 
they gulped down air in sobbing 
spasms. 



8 THE reader's digest September 


Some time after midnight, four 
days later, they were awakened by 
the .howl of wind and the violent 
tossing and pitching of the boat. 
The sea was running high and the 
boat seemed to have lost buoyancy. 
Widdicombe clicked on the torch. 
In the faint light they saw water 
within a few inches of the thwarts. 
At that moment the crest of a huge 
wave poured in over the gunwales. 
Tapscott seized the bucket and 
Widdicombe a can, and they started 
bailing desperately. That night was 
an eternity of terror. 

Dawn came as a lightening in a 
leaden sky. l‘he gale blasted them 
with spindrift that stung like shot. 
It took both of them to manage 
the steering oar. Ahead was a howl¬ 
ing, tumbling chaos of wind and 
water. All day and all the next 
night they fought the storm. There 
was no question of sleep. Drenched, 
cold and dog-tired they huddled in 
the stern sheets. 

The se(^ond day of the storm the 
wind blew more steadily. The boat 
raced with the 40-foot w'aves, driven 
at express speed. 

“At any rate,” Widdicombe said 
grimly, “we’re making time.” 

The rising sun of the following 
day revealed a turbulent sea, but 
one they could safely lie to in. They 
fell exhausted upon the seats. Then 
they looked at each other and 
grinned; another great danger suc¬ 
cessfully passed. 

After the storm, pickings from 
the sea were poor. They became 


frantic with hunger. They stripped 
the peeling skin from*their bodies 
and ate that. They tore the latex 
lining from Sparks’ tobacco pouch 
and chewed on that. They were 
very lightheaded now, and their 
mounting hysteria found morose 
relief in bitter quarreling. 

The next week was almost a 
blank. Then one night Tapscott 
thought he heard a fish flapping in 
the boat. With the first light of 
dawn he was in the bottom of the 
boat, looking*for it. 

“I’ve found it,” he said finally. 
Widdicombe said nothing. 

“I’ve found that fish,” Tapscott 
repeated, looking up to see why 
Widdicombe received this impor¬ 
tant news so apathetically. Widdi¬ 
combe was staring straight ahead. 

“Look,” he said, pointing. 

Tapscott, holding the fish firmly, 
raised himself on a thwart to see. 
Dead ahead lay a long line of low¬ 
land and beach. 

“Land or no land,” Tapscott 
said, “I’m going to eat this fish.” 
He cut it in half with Sparks* razor 
and together they ate it, staring at 
the land. 

That afternoon the radio flashed 
the news to the world that Robert 
George Tapscott, 19, and Wilbert 
Roy Widdicombe, 21, the sole sur¬ 
vivors of the torpedoed Anglo~ 
Saxorit had crossed 3000 miles of 
ocean in an open boat, outliving yo',, 
days of thirst, starvation and storm. 

They were found on the beach at 



TWO SURVIVED 


9 


J941 

Eleuthera, one of the Bahama Is¬ 
lands east of the southern tip of 
Florida, by a Negro beachcomber. 
A rescue party took them to Gov¬ 
ernor’s Harbor, where they were 
greeted as heroes by the Com¬ 
missioner and citizens. 

In the Bahamas General Hos¬ 
pital it was found that in addition 
to the physical effects of exposure, 
starvation and prolonged thirst, their 
mental and nervous systems were 
badly deranged. They could not 
sleep; both were fre¬ 
quently hysterical or 


sunk in despondent apathy. How¬ 
ever, weeks of skillful treatment and 
considerate care restored them to 
some measure of their former nerv¬ 
ous and physical stamina. 

The final irony of the epic fight for 
life was reserved for Widdicombe. 
In February he went to Canada to 
join a ship, the Siamese Prince. On 
February 18 the ship was torpedoed 
and sunk off Scotland. 

The steamship line reported that 
** everyone on the Siamese Prince 
must be considered to 
have been lost.” 


QLn i cJtofi QAs . . . 

A DRUNK was walking along the curb with one foot on the side¬ 
walk and the other in the gutter. A cop followed him for two blacks 
and then said, “Come along, buddy, and I’ll help you home. You’re 
drunk.” 

“Thank God!” said the drunk. “I thought I was a cripple.” 

— Contributed by Harlan E. Read 


« l\vo MEN FINISHED thcir drinks at the tavern, said good-bye to 
their friends and began the 40-miIe drive to the city. After a while 
one of them observed, “We’re gettin’ closer to town.” 

“What makes you think so?” countered the other. 

“Well,” reasoned the first, “we’re hittin’ more people.” 

— Contributed by EVinald MacGregor 


<S-<A VERY LARGE MAN aiid a Smaller one had been long enough at 
the bar to reach the confidential stage. “Do you know,” remarked 
the large one, “I weighed only three and a half pounds when I was 
born?” 

“No!” said the small man incredulously. “And did you live?” 

“Did I live? Boy! You should see me now!” 

— Contiibut«NJ by R. ConMantian 



C Third in a series of reports on a nation-wide investigation 
of those who service modern necessities too complicated 
for the layman himself to repair 


The JVatch Repair Man JVill Gyp You 
If You Don V Took Out 


By 

Roger William Riis 


Sn 


'n the July Reader's Digest^ Roger 
IVilliam Riis reported an inquiry into 
the honesty of automobile repair men. 
Three out of jive lied or cheated. In the 
August issue Mr. Riis told about the 
ethics of radio repair men. Again three 
out of Jive tried to take advantage of the 
customer. The following article recounts 
the experiences of the same investigators 
at the hands of watch repairers. 

N ot even a man’s best friend 
tells him the truth so un¬ 
failingly as his watch. One 
might therefore expect the mem¬ 
bers of the ancient craft of watch¬ 
makers to be as honest as the ma¬ 
chines with which they deal. 

In a tour of the 48 states, The 
Reader’s Digest investigators, John 
Patric and Miss Lioy May, tested 
the honesty of 462 watch repairers 
of every type. In each case they 
submitted a watch with which one 
single, easily adjustable thing was 
wrong. Of the 462 watchmakers, 
236 met the test by swiftly correct¬ 
ing the trouble. Eight of these asked 
a nominal fee; 228 made no charge 
at all. 

But the remaining 226^ or 4g per- 
centy Hedy overcbargedy gave phony 


diagnoses or suggested expensive and 
unnecessary repairs. 

Four medium-priced men’s watches 
of well-known American makes 
were used for the tests and kept in 
first-class running condition. But 
before entering each store the in¬ 
vestigator would open the back of 
the watch and loosen the little 
screw that fastens the winding wheel, 
which is also called the crown 
wheel. This disengages the gears so 
that the watch will no longer wind. 

To each repair man the investi¬ 
gator would say that the watch 
had recently been overhauled and 
was keeping good time until sud¬ 
denly it refused to wind. (The in¬ 
vestigators had their watches com¬ 
pletely examined, sometimes cleaned, 
by men they found honest.) 

In most watches, once the back 
has been opened, the winding wheel 
is in full view. In the center of the 
wheel is a conspicuous, accessible 
screw. That loosening this screw 
was a fair test is proved by the 
236 watchmakers who spotted and 
tightened it at once. 

The adjustment was so simple 
as to be apparent to people who 


to 



THE WATCH REPAIR MAN WILL GYP YOU 


// 


were inexperienced, or not even 
watchmakers at all. A lad behind 
the counter in Portland, Ore., a 
salesgirl in Annapolis, Md., a clerk 
in Charlotte, N. C., and a youthful 
apprentice in Austin, Minn. — all 
of them promptly put the watch to 
rights. In San Antonio, Texas, the 
investigators showed the ailing 
watch to an itinerant knife-grinder. 
He at once tightened the ■ screw 
with a razor blade. 

As representative of the honest 
watchmakers, here is a case from 
Stamford, Conn.: 

This man charged nothing. “I could 
have told you this would be a big job,” 
he said, “but there’s work enough to 
be done that’s legitimate.” When 1 
mentioned the high estimates other 
watchmakers had given me, and asked 
if maybe they hadn’t seen the loose 
screw, he smiled: “Oh, they saw it all 
right — make no mistake.” 

When 236 watchmakers immedi¬ 
ately discovered why the watch 
would not wind, can anything be 
said in defense of the 226 who pre¬ 
scribed 76 new mainsprings, 14 
winding springs and gave 52 other 
often grotesquely different explana¬ 
tions of what was wrong or needed ? 
Among them were the following: 

New pinion, new clutch spring, 
new click spring, new hairspring, 
new setting wheel, new balance 
staff, new winder, new ratchet; 
winding stem broken, shipper spring 
broken, winding wheel broken, 
clutch lever broken, “some pieces 
broke”; loose pivot, loose winding 
clutch, loose screw under crown 


wheel, six loose screws, a dozen 
loose screws; sleeve gone, threads 
stripped, screw missing, clutch 
weak, wheels binding, oil gummed 
up, watch all out of order. 

In none of the 462 tests that 
form the basis for this article did 
any of the watches used have any 
of these things wrong. Three jewel¬ 
ers in one morning, in Los Angeles, 
told the investigators the main¬ 
spring was broken. A fourth, after 
tightening the screw, suggested 
that a cigar was payment enough. 

Here is how a watchmaker in a 
small Oregon town accounted for 
the most common diagnosis: 

Case No. 38^. An old established 
shop. The owner said: “You need a 
new mainspring. It will be $1.50.” 
Later, in the course of a talk on how 
honest he was, he said; “ It’s my custom 
to charge for a mainspring anyway, even 
if it isn’t broken. Yours really is broken, 
but lots of times you can't explain to 
customers just what’s wrong, because 
they wouldn’t understand. But they all 
understand a mainspring.” 

Further light on why so many 
watchmakers cheat was shed by a 
man in Cleveland who wanted $3 
for “some new parts.” When shown 
how simple the real trouble was, he 
confessed: 

i 

Case No. 4J0. “Well, the more honest 
you try to be the less the public trusts 
you. I’ve tried both ways. If I were to 
tell the average customer that a screw 
was loose and charge him 25 cents, he 
wouldn’t believe me. The customer 
judges a fellow’s work by his price.” 

Gyps were found in both modest 
and pretentious shops. One large 



12 


THE READER S DIGEST 


Philadelphia store said the watch 
needed I9.00 worth of work. Simi¬ 
larly high estimates were made by 
top-notch jewelers in Mobile (^4), 
Denver and Detroit ($4.50), Chi¬ 
cago ($5) and New Orleans (I6.50). 
In Wisconsin, watchmakers are li¬ 
censed. But of 16 tested there, 9 lied. 

Chivalry was a dead letter: Miss 
May was gypped in 56 percent of 
her tests; Patric in 46 percent. 
Square dealing was commoner in 
towns under 10,000 population, 
where 62 percent of the watch¬ 
makers tested were honest. 

Case No. JO. Washington, D. C. A 
large jeweler’s store. The repair man 
opened the watch, tightened the screw, 
and gave the winder a couple of experi¬ 
mental clicks. Then he loosened the 
screw again, and said: “You need a new 
winding spring. It’ll be ?J.50.’’ 

No. 14J. Miami, Fla. A small shop. 
The owner said I had a stripped winding 
wheel, which would cost a dollar to fix. 

I asked if he had the parts. Idis answer 
was to take out a little box of winding 
wheels, and compare several carefully 
with the wheel from my watch. Then he 
slily put back my old winding wheel. 
When I asked to see the old wheel, he 
gave me a rusty one that had never been 
in my watch. Then I showed him how the 
design on the wheels now in my watch 
matched, proving that no change at all 
had been made. 

No. J70. San Francisco. The watch¬ 
maker tightened the screw, and said: 
“This watch is all out of order. It’ll 
cost #3.50 to fix it.’’ “Does it wind 


now?’’ I asked. “It’s all out of order,” 
he replied. “But does it v>nd? That’s 
what I wanted fixed.’’ “I wound it,’’ he 
said, “but it isn’t fixed. It’ll go bad 
right away.’’ I tried again, but still he 
wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. Noth¬ 
ing was, of course, except the loose 
screw. 

When asked for an explanation of 
the deceitfulness so common in his 
craft, an honest watchmaker in 
Topeka, Kansas, commented as fol¬ 
lows: “Whenever you find a busi¬ 
ness the public doesn’t know any¬ 
thing about, you’ll find men going 
into that business who trade on the 
public’s ignorance. If you sharpen 
a man’s knives you can’t cheat him, 
because he knows whether you’ve 
done a good job for the price.” 

Obviously it is impossible for 
people to learn enough about the 
complicated insides of a watch to 
protect themselves from the watch¬ 
maker’s awareness of their igno¬ 
rance. But you can be skeptical, 
and demand precise information. 
Then, if you doubt a diagnosis, try 
another watchmaker. If they agree, 
you’re on the right track. If they 
disagree, try a third. If the watch¬ 
maker refuses to specify, go some¬ 
where else. In any case, demand an 
itemized receipt, for most men hesi¬ 
tate to itemize their villainy. But 
don’t be afraid to cross-examine, 
for it’sy<?«r watch and money. 


Reports on other common articles of merebandisey and com¬ 
ments on this series from the public and from the repair men 
tbemselvesy will appear in later issues of ’The Reader's Digest. 



The empty dream of security by "passive defense” — the 
dream of a Senate minority whose 2o-year veto on foreign 
policy has brought our nation to the brink of disaster 


America'‘s Great Mistahe 


Condensed from Life 
Walter Lipptnann 


T he American people are 
making the greatest military 
effort in their history. They 
are making it because they find 
themselves in imminent danger of 
standing alone in a hostile world. 
They are preparing for war because 
they know they must ^ork and 
fight their way out of this perif. 
Yet the preparation will never be 
sufficient until they realize clearly 
that all this effort is necessary be¬ 
cause we have made the most costly 
mistakes that the American De¬ 
mocracy has ever made. 

Twenty years ago we were the 


Walter I.ii'pmann's penetrating com¬ 
ments on American history-in-the-making 
are based on 30 years of observation from 
advantageous posts. He graduated from 
Harvard in 1910, and soon helped to found 
The New Republic. During the war he was 
assistant to Secretary of War Baker; a 
captain in the Military Intelligence, seeing 
service abroad; and secretary of the com¬ 
mission to gather data to be used at the 
Peace Conference. Later he became editor 
of the New York World. His column, “To¬ 
day and Tomorrow,” which appears in the 
New York Herald Tribune and more than 
100 other papers, was started just 10 years 
ago. Among Mr. Lippmann’s many books are 
Preface to Polities Preface to Morals. 


leading power in the world, our 
security unchallenged and inviola¬ 
ble. All the most powerful nations 
on earth were our friends. Today 
we are encircled by an alliance of 
great powers of Europe and Asia 
held in check only by the desperate 
resistance of the British and the 
Chinese, and by whatever resist¬ 
ance Russia may be able to make. 

T'hese are the consequences of 
the foreign policy that we have fol¬ 
lowed. No amount of words, no 
beating of breasts, no cries about 
how much we love peace and mean 
to make ourselves impregnable can 
alter the fact that the net result of 
this policy is that we find ourselves 
surrounded by war and surrounded 
by enemies, feverishly trying to 
prepare ourselves against dangers 
we have not had the wit or the 
courage to forestall. When a rich 
and vigorous nation and the lead¬ 
ing power in the world falls so 
quickly into such deadly danger, 
there can be no disputing the fact 
that it has been badly led along 
the wrong road. 

The ultimate responsibility is 
upSn all of us. We are free men and 


Copyright 19411 Time Inc.., Time iS Lift BUg., Rockefeller Center, N. T. C. 

(Life, July si, ’41) IJ 



// THE reader’s digest September 


we are responsible for what has 
happened. But the historic fact is 
that for more than 20 years the 
constitutional system of the United 
States has not been allowed to op¬ 
erate as it was meant to operate in 
the conduct of foreign affairs. In 
the summer of 1919 a minority in 
the Senate obtained control of Amer¬ 
ican foreign policy by a ruthless 
use of the filibuster. Since that 
event a Senate minority, exploiting 
the rule which permits unlimited 
debate, has exercised a veto on 
every President and on all the ma¬ 
jorities in every Congress. The ef¬ 
fect has been to compel every ad¬ 
ministration to adopt the foreign 
policy advocated by this minority 
in the Senate. 

The name of this foreign policy is 
isolationism: wthe strategical plan 
of this p)olicy is that of the passive 
defensive. No President, excepting 
possibly Harding, has ever been an 
isolationist while in office, and cer¬ 
tainly the commanders of our armed 
forces have never believed in the 
strategy of the passive defensive. 
No comjietent soldier or sailor in 
the world believes in it. Yet the 
isolationists have prevailed. 

They, not Wilson, determined 
the treaty of peace which ended 
America's part in the other war. 
They forced Coolidge to insist upon 
a war debt settlement which un¬ 
dermined postwar reconstruction. 
They tied the hands of Hoover 
when he sought to find a solution 
for world-wide economic collapse. 


They wrote the neutrality acts. 
They opposed the repeal of the arms 
embargo before the outbreak of the 
war, thus grarvely weakening France 
and Britain and delaying by many 
months the development of an air¬ 
plane and munitions industry in 
this country. They have resisted 
every foot of the way the develop¬ 
ment of aid to Great Britain and 
China, and the program has been so 
much delayed by their obstruction 
that what would have been a mighty 
contribution twelve months ago is 
no longer sufficient. 

The strategy of defense imposed 
upon us under isolationist leader¬ 
ship is based upon the same deadly 
error which has wrecked all the free 
nations of Europe and has placed 
Britain in mortal peril. It is the 
illusion that the defensive is stronger 
than the offensive. 

It is evident enough now why 
the illusion of the impregnable de¬ 
fensive captured the imagination 
of the democracies. What the peo¬ 
ple of England, France and Amer¬ 
ica remembered most vividly of 
the war of 1914-1918 were the 
bloody offensives on the Western 
Front, in which infantry was hurled 
against barbed wire and machine 
guns and then massacred by the 
defenders. It was this memory that 
caused the French to feel that if 
they built the Maginot Line they 
could never again be invaded. 

But the Germans were never ’ 
caught by this illusion of the im¬ 
pregnable defensive. Having been 



AMERICA'S GREAT MISTAKE 


1941 




defeated, what they remembered 
most vividly were not the three and 
a half years of bloody stalemate 
but the final three months when, 
with tanks and air superiority, the 
Allies did break the German front. 
Long before Hitler was heard of, 
the German army was studying the 
lessons of its defeat, and the stra¬ 
tegical genius shown by the Ger¬ 
mans in this war is based upon the 
real, rather than the imaginary, 
lessons of the other war. 

Thus, while the democracies 
built Maginot Lines, the Germans 
organized armored divisions; while 
the democracies manufactured de¬ 
fensive pursuit planes, the German® 
manufactured bombers; while the 
democracies taught their people to 
think of passive defense, the Ger¬ 
mans got themselves thoroughly 
ready for the offensive. Nor was 
it only in strictly military affairs 
that the Germans took the offen¬ 
sive. They pursued an offensive 
foreign policy, designed to separate 
and encircle the democracies one 
by one and then to compel them 
when conquered to assist in the 
offensive against the next victim. 

Thus Germany, which until five 
years ago was disarmed and encir¬ 
cled, had managed, before a shot 
was fired in open warfare, to break 
up the world coalition, to separate 
Russia from France, to envelop 
Italy, to destroy Czechoslovakia, 
to isolate Poland, to make an al¬ 
liance with Japan, and to’ encour¬ 
age the Unit^ States to go on 


thinking that nothing which hap¬ 
pened across the ocean or on it 
could matter. 

It was this ruthless political 
strategy which set the stage for the 
military victories of the German 
army. It has been our wooden¬ 
headed conception of foreign policy 
which has brought us to the pass 
where Germany, recently encircled 
and isolated, is now threatening to 
isolate and encircle us. 

The passive defensive which the 
isolationists have imposed upon 
this country is based on the notion 
that an armed circle can be drawn 
around the United States, and that 
behind the protection of our two 
oceans we can never be success¬ 
fully attacked. Therefore we have 
been induced to think, first, that 
we needed no allies and, second, 
that it did not matter how many 
nations were allied against us. 

It is a false theory. Even the 
isolationists now realize that to de¬ 
fend the United States we must 
make what amounts to a military 
alliance with Canada and with 
Brazil; just why they object to hav¬ 
ing Britain as an ally, also, no 
strategist will ever be able to ex¬ 
plain. For if we need Canada and 
Brazil — which do not have navies 
— to defend the hemisphere against 
attack from overseas, then surely 
we need Britain even more to help 
see to it that no attack from over¬ 
seas can ever get started. 

The isolationists profess to ob¬ 
ject to entangling alliances. But in 



i6 THE reader's DIGEST September 


fact they have persuaded us to con¬ 
fine our alliances to weak countries 
and they have done their utmost to 
prevent us from making allies of 
strong countries like Britain and 
Prance. All alliances are entangling 
ill the sense that the troubles of one's 
allies become one’s own troubles. 
A Nazi revolution in Brazil or Mex¬ 
ico would be an entanglement for 
the United States. There is no 
sense in a policy that favors al¬ 
liances with the relatively weak 
nations of the Western Hemisphere 
and opposes an alliance with a 
great power, like Britain, which is 
able to contribute to the defense 
of the Western Hemisphere the 
world’s largest organization of total 
seapower. 

Allies are necessary to our de¬ 
fense because no other great power 
is run by isolationists. Our failure 
to make allies of potential allies will 
mean sooner or later that they be¬ 
come conquered by and allied with 
our enemies. The democracies should 
have learned this bitter truth at 
long last. Twenty years ago we had 
among our allies Great Britain and 
France. Today we have lost France 
and she, alas, is in the camp of our 
enemies. Yet in the face of this, 
there are still supposedly sane per¬ 
sons at large who want to push 
Britain also into the other camp. 

'J'his political fallacy is derived 
from an underlying military fallacy 
that consists in thinking a nation 
can be defended successfully by 
standing guard at the frontier, wait¬ 


ing to be attacked and then repel¬ 
ling the attack. This is ft certain in¬ 
vitation to military disaster. For 
if a nation tries to stand guard on 
its whole frontier all the time, it 
can never be very strong at every 
point. The enemy is free to con¬ 
centrate an overwhelming force at 
the weakest point, to smash the de¬ 
fenses and force the passive de¬ 
fender to do what he never intended 
to do: to attack in order to dislodge 
the invader, '^o defend the Western 
Hemisphere by a passive defense 
not only means patrolling at least 
15,000 miles of sea frontier, but it 
means that when the attack is 
launched the fighting will occur in 
American waters and at the ex¬ 
pense of American shipping and 
American ports. 

Nor is that all. The passive de¬ 
fense gives the enemy the choice of 
the place to attack; it also gives 
him the choice of time. Thus the 
attacker has the inestimable ad¬ 
vantage of forcing the defender to 
fight at the most inconvenient 
place and at the most inconvenient 
time. And since he can compel the 
defender to divide his forces whereas 
he can concentrate his own forces, 
the attacker can be superior on the 
battlefield—which is the only place 
where superiority matters. 

The theory of the passive de¬ 
fense combined with the policy of 
political isolation means, therefore, 
giving the enemy every possible ad- ‘ 
vantage; a nation guided by such 
a policy deprives itself of allies and 



AMERICA'S GREAT MISTAKE 


n 


permits its enemies to form alli¬ 
ances. Having practiced isolation, 
it finds itself encircled. Such a 
. policy is sheer folly, 
i The great sacrifices we now must 
r make in order to overcome our peril 
are clearly traceable to a specific 
cause. The American people have 
for 20 years been conniving at a 
violation of the intent of the Q)n- 
stitution. For the American strat¬ 
egy of defense in this disastrous 
epoch has been determined by a 
handful of Senators — usually about 
ten or a dozen — who from the 
days of Borah and Johnson to the 
days of Wheeler and Nye have had 
more to say about the main lines 
of policy than Wilson, Coolidge, 
floover and Roosevelt, than Hughes, 
Kellogg, Stimson and Hull, to¬ 
gether with their advisers in the 
State Department and in the Gen¬ 
eral Board of the Navy and in the 
General Staff of the Army. 

The American government was 
never meant to work that way. If 
the Presidents and their advisers 
and the majorities in Congress had 
been allowed to conduct our foreign 
policy as the Constitution intended 
— had a minority of the Senators 
not used the filibuster, actual and 
threatened, to control foreign af¬ 
fairs — we should never have been 
misled into such fearful danger. 


We are now repairing our mis¬ 
take. The price is a gigantic mili¬ 
tary effort, the conscription of our 
young men and the regimentation 
of our industry and of our lives; 
before the peril is overcome the 
price may be a long and difficult 
war. No other nation could com¬ 
mit such errors as we have com¬ 
mitted and survive. 

We can. For among modern na¬ 
tions America is unique. Germany 
is a great power on land but, unless 
she wins this war and subjugates 
Britain, Germany is without power 
on the sea. Britain and Japan are 
island empires. We alone have a 
great navy based upon the re¬ 
sources of a continent — a combi¬ 
nation which Hitler dreams of but 
which only the American nation ac¬ 
tually possesses. This power, once 
it is fully mobilized and rightly 
directed, will give us the means to 
repair our mistakes. 

But the bravest men, the most 
brilliant commanders, the best 
ships and planes and tanks will not 
restore the security we had in 1918, 
and have now lost, unless the Amer¬ 
ican people and the American Con¬ 
gress rid themselves of the illusions 
and the fallacies and the obsessions 
which destroyed our victory in the 
other war and prepared the disasters 
which we have now to overcome. 




.HE FRONTIERS arc nct east or west, north or 
south, but wherever a man fronts a fact. —'Oioivau 



H After ten years ot " freedom," a woman 
reflects on her self-righteous course 


I JVould Not Divorce Him Now 

0 

Condensed from Harper’s Magazine 
Anonymous 


I F I HAD it to do over again I 
would not divorce my husband. 
And I wonder how many other 
divorcees wish that divorce had 
never been invented. Few will con¬ 
fess it because it is a human trait to 
disguise failure, to be reluctant to 
admit defeat even to oneself— and 
divorce is defeat. I am acknowledg¬ 
ing that defeat, although even to 
my nearest friends I still, carry 
through the stereotyped bluff, which 
indicates that I have borne un¬ 
speakable anguish with bravery. 

Ten years ago I was 30 years old. 
My boy was eight. My husband 
was 40. At 20 I had married a man 
I loved. When the first rapture had 
inevitably yielded to the attempt 
at mutual tolerance and under¬ 
standing, which is mature marriage, 
there was much that survived. We 
both thought the same things were 
amusing. We both were devoted to 
our child. Jim was reasonably suc¬ 
cessful in his profession and eco¬ 
nomically we were comfortable. 

To me now, this situation would 
present a working basis for mat¬ 
rimony. To me then, the fact that 
Jim drank too much blinded me to 
all else. 

The chief argument I used on 

i8 


myself to justify divorce was, “I 
must have freedom to bring up my 
child in a proper environment.” 
But T now regard Jim’s drinking as 
an insufficient reason to deprive 
the child of his father. I now be¬ 
lieve that'divorce between people 
who have children is not only 
undesirable but impossible. The 
child is there: Exhibit A, to prove 
that the divorced parent is. In the 
face of this fact the arrogance of a 
woman or a man in determining 
that the other parent is superfluous 
is astonishing. 

How could I have been so sure 
that I could be both father and 
mother, that I had no character¬ 
istics difficult to deal with? Had 
our marriage continued, the boy 
would have been given a protection 
against my inadequacies that would 
have by far outmeasured the harm 
of meeting directly the shortcom¬ 
ings of his father. 

Recently I stopped at the coun¬ 
try club to take the boy home. He 
had been spending with his father 
the “one day a month” that is 
legally permitted. They were stand¬ 
ing together by the tennis court,. 
the boy lighting his father’s pipe 
and then his own cigarette. There 


Copyright, Harper fS Brothers, 4^ E. 33 St., N. T. C. 



I WOULD NOT DIVORCE HIM NOW ig 


was a camaraderie, momentary but 
undeniable. Suddenly I felt like a 
kidnaper. When I cut my son off 
‘ from his father I transgressed one 
' of the most fundamental clanships 
I that exist. 

; No wife, however driven by ex¬ 
asperation or despair to a divorce, 
escapes scars similar to those I 
(experienced. Civilized convention 
demands either courage or an atti¬ 
tude of courage: we must hide our 
hurt and wear a smile. Certainly no 
one who knows me would guess 
that, during my husband's absence 
in Europe while I was instituting 
divorce proceedings, I went re¬ 
peatedly back into what had been 
our house. Emptied of all but Jim’^' 
possessions, it was a tragic sight; 
the child’s room, my own room, 
stripped and bare. It is difficult to 
reconcile those pilgrimages, and the 
tears I shed against the suits in his 
closet, with the cheerful attitude 
I maintained to the outer world — 
and more particularly to him and 
to our lawyers. 

If those tears had indicated merely 
a temporary emotional upheaval, if 
the divorce that followed had given 
to him, to the child, or to me any 
of those advantages which freedom 
claims to give, then a season of pain 
would have been worth while. But 
loneliness following divorce is par¬ 
ticularly poignant and enduring. 
Roots of common experience, of 
shared days and nights, of mutual 
parenthood are not shallowly planted. 
Separation imposed by death has 


the dignity of Fate. We bring 
divorce upon ourselves. 

At no time does a mother feed on 
so harsh a diet of the straw of 
divorce as when she is forced to 
discuss important questions about 
the welfare of her child in the cold 
light of a lawyer’s office. No matter 
how wise or sympathetic the legal 
adviser may be, the audience to 
one’s hopes and fears should rightly 
be the man to whom the child’s 
development is also of paramount 
importance. 

At the railroad station, meeting 
a train that is to bring “our” son 
home from college, there is an 
aloneness which even the boy him¬ 
self and his excited arrival cannot 
dispel. I need, and desperately, 
someone to share my affection for 
the boy, my pride in the inches he 
has grown, my delight in the be¬ 
wildering maturity revealed by his 
expanding vocabulary. I am aware 
that his homecoming, despite his 
joy in being with me again, is not a 
complete thing. The artificial for¬ 
mality of telephoning “father to 
let him know you arc safely home” 
is like a chill wind on a warm June 
day. There is a poignant conscious¬ 
ness of the exiled parent. 

To me now, no wrong or indis¬ 
cretion that a human creature can 
commit is deserving of this punish¬ 
ment; that a child should grow to 
manhood unaccompanied, unwit¬ 
nessed by one of the parents respon¬ 
sible for his life. 

I do not mean there are no cases 



20 


THE READER'S DIGEST 


in which the surgery of divorce is 
imperative. But I know now, as I 
did not know ten years ago, that 
divorce is "definitely a surgery, ago¬ 
nizingly painful, uncertain in out¬ 
come, to be used only in extremity. 

I am not sure what conditions I 
should consider valid for a divorce 
if I had it to do over again. If my 
husband possessed a few of those 
crystals of kindness and generosity 
which are the essence of all that 
civilization or religion have given 
us; if he would be reasonably in¬ 
clined to live and let live, I should 
continue my marriage with him. 

If he made love to other women 
I should try to hope that he found 
happiness in so doing; if he were 
occasionally cruel or unkind I should 
seek to trace and understand his 
motivation; if he failed to support 
me I should realize that divorce 
would probably fail to better that 
circumstance, and I should attempt 
to support myself and my child as 
divorce would necessitate; if he 
drank to excess I should attempt 
to induce him to accept medical 
care and to endure concerned but 
not nagging affection from me. 

It would work, I think; for men 
almost invariably are pitifully eager 
to make marriage endure. They are 
the true conservatives to whom 
divorce, and all that it entails, is 
unthinkable. More clearly than wives, 
husbands see through the deplor¬ 
able attitude of mind which fre¬ 
quently accompanies marriage: a 


belief that matrimony will make of 
life a gala experience. 

In looking back ovef my ten 
years of marriage and ten years of 
divorce, I discover that much which 
I believed was the fault of my hus¬ 
band has proved to be the result of 
my own misadaptation to the rigors 
of life. It is amazingly easy to put 
on marriage the blame for one’s 
personal moods or for one’s graver 
unhappinesses, and a husband is 
the most inclusively satisfactory 
object to blarpe for almost any¬ 
thing that is wrong with life. 

But, in her innermost conscious¬ 
ness, the divorcee is aware that she 
has failed where she most hoped to 
succeed.To me now, marriage seems 
the most civilized of all institutions, 
an institution which demands the 
continuity of effort to comprehend 
another human being, with his dif¬ 
ferent dreams, hopes, goals, and 
despairs. Inescapably nearing mid¬ 
dle age, I know that if I were myself 
of ten years ago I should continue 
in marriage, even to the man of my 
mischoice. 

We could go on together trying 
to understand each other, some¬ 
times perhaps succeeding. Always 
we should wait for our boy’s train 
together, and together do what we 
could to make the life for which we 
are mutually responsible a happy 
one. Together we should give him 
the comfort he now lacks of united 
parents — the tragic, desperate need ^ 
of every child. 



C. He puts racketeers on the spot 
with the pen of a crusader 



I T HAS been said that there-are 
two kinds of journalists — the 
Gee Whiz and the Aw Nuts. 
There is a third — the Nuts to You, 
or Westbrook Pegler. Maybe Woe 
to You would be closer to the 
mark, for Pegler, the recent Pulit¬ 
zer Prize winner, is a journalistic.,- 
Amos, resembling in his daily 
scoldings the minor prophet of 
whom it was said: “The land is not 
able to bear all his words.” When 
Prophet Pegler isn’t thumping his 
craw over the iniquities of this 
generation, he is belaboring union 
racketeers, bunds, the New Deal, 
the Old Guard, and all isms, ologies 
and ics (pronounced Ickes). 

Pegler, at 46, is tall, tough and 
truculent, with bristling brows, and 
an angry glow in his eyes. He 
spends his days on a Connecticut 
farm fighting his typewriter, for 
writing is an onerous chore for 
Pegler. The raw phrases, to be sure, 
are blasted out of the quarry by his 
explosive wrath, but they must be 
hacked laboriously into shape and 
piled one on the other until the 
day’s column rises in rude majesty. 

Copyright Gerard Pub. Co., 
(JVho, 3 ‘he Magazine at 


'er Throws the Book 

Condensed from Who 
J. P. McEvoy 

Pegler’s picturesque vocabulary 
stems from childhood when he 
hung around the railroad water 
tower in fixcelsior, Minn., a favor¬ 
ite rendezvous of itinerant bums. 
Their salty talk and quaint sayings 
permanently impressed themselves 
on his little waxlike mind. Now his 
daily diatribe is a sophivSticated 
orchestration of those early record¬ 
ings. So Harold Ickes becomes 
“Honest Hal, the housedick of the 
New Deal”; royal husbands of 
American heiresses, “high-born 
he-trollops”; Los Angeles, “that 
sprawling, incoherent, slobbering 
civic idiot in the family of Ameri¬ 
can communities.” 

When his parents moved to Chi¬ 
cago, Pegler carried papers, jerked 
sodas, and battled his way through 
grade school. Lane Tech High was 
too much for him. He took the same 
algebra course five times, and was 
finally passed because they needed 
his desk. To this day he hates 
mathematics, makes his wife han¬ 
dle their |6o,ocx) income. 

Pegler’s father, Arthur Pegler, 
was a brilliant newspaperman and 
despite his frequent exhortation, 
“ For God’s sake, son, don’t go into 
the newspaper business,” the boy 

1C., 420 Lexington Ave., N. T. C. 
it People, August, *41) 


2 / 



22 THE READER^S DIGEST September 


plodded along in the parental foot¬ 
steps. He was an office boy and a 
reporter in Des Moines, later a bu¬ 
reau manager for the United Press. 
In 1916 he was sent to London by 
UP, becoming the youngest war 
correspondent (21), the lowest paid 
($30 a week), and the most ir¬ 
ritating. 

He quickly got into a series of 
spectacular jams. Chief of Opera¬ 
tions Major General Sir Frederick 
Maurice, resenting his pointed 
questions, ejected him from his 
press conferences. Our own Ad¬ 
miral Sims reprimanded him for 
disclosing that British and Ameri¬ 
can sailors often blacked each 
other’s eyes while on leave. On the 
Continent, he ingratiated himself 
with the authorities by a personal 
letter to Roy Howard, head of 
United Press, giving the lowdown 
on the deplorable situation of the 
army supply system. For this, Peg- 
ler was kicked out of the press 
corps by every official boot that 
could reach him. Brooding over 
man’s inhumanity to Pegler, he 
joined the navy, seeing the world 
and the war from the Liverpool 
waterfront. 

After the war Pegler decided to 
get more schooling at the Jesuit 
Loyola Academy in Chicago. Even 
then he was never one to do things 
by halves. Not sure just when he 
should ring the bell as an altar boy 
during Mass, he rang it continu¬ 
ously until the priest forcibly took 
it away. 


Pegler quit school after tw« 
years and went back to /lewspaper 
work as a sports writer. But the 
Jesuit impress stuck through the 
years, cropping out first when he 
launched a morally indignant one- 
man crusade against the fakery of 
fight managers, wrestling promot¬ 
ers and the slobbering praise ladled 
out by conventional sports writers. 
This idol-smashing was an instan¬ 
taneous success, zooming Peg to 
$30,000 a year. It became evident 
that such talehts were wasted in 
this limited field. In 1933 Pegler 
moved into the Washington arena, 
taking his personal inquisition with 
him — and soon the country rang 
with the anguished cries of con¬ 
gressmen writhing on the rack and 
senators broken on the wheel. 

Pegler holds with the old bar¬ 
room adage that the guy who hits 
first and hard has the best chance 
of winning the argument. No light 
jabs or airy footwork for Peg. He 
lays his head on his opponent’s 
shoulder and whams away with 
both hands. That hollow clunk you 
hear occasionally is Pegler swing¬ 
ing low. Thus his fellow Americans 
are “ the greatest hard-liquor drink¬ 
ers on earth, rich, strong, and roar¬ 
ing an offer to lick any so-and-so in 
the world.” They “spend vastly 
more man-hours in the movies or at 
ball games than in church or pious 
works”; and, thanks to Winchell, 
“the gents* room journalist,” they 
wallow in “smelly witticisms and 
the romantic, or sexual, problems 



jg4l PEGLER THROWS THE!BOOK. 2j 


of a class of people who appear to 
exist entirely in drinking resorts/* 
Pegler and Walter *Winchell 
heckle each other often, for Pegler, 
a trained reporter, derides the 
gossip specialists. The feud came to 
a head when Winchell erroneously 
reported that a kidnaping threat 
had driven Pegler to seek safety in a 
New York hotel. Pegler pointed out 
that Winchell could easily have 
verified that claim by a 35-cent 
phone call. With increased vigor he 
lit into Winchell, who retaliated 
last year by publicly requesting 
that Pegler should not be al¬ 
lowed to attend his funeral. 

Pegler gets a thousand letters a 
week from the readers of his column" 
syndicated in 136 papers. Many 
letters are anonymously written 
with blunt pencil on ruled tablet 
paper- A few dare him to take off 
his coat and come outside, but most 
of them holler ecstatically, “Give it 
to him !*’ and put the finger on new 
victims. Through such anonymous 
tips Pegler first learned that Willie 
BiofF, Hollywood labor czar, was a 
fugitive from a Chicago jail sen¬ 
tence as a pander, “which is Ritz 
for pimp and not a comical Chinese 
bear as you might think.*’ 

From court records Pegler dug 
the fact that BiofF, convicted of 
pandering in 1922, had served only 
five days of a six months* sentence. 
Pegler’s expos6 was a national sen¬ 
sation. BiofF was hauled back to 
Chicago to finish the sentence con¬ 
veniently forgotten for so long. 


Sinc^ then Pegler has dive- 
bombed BiofTs boss, George E. 
BrowiK, president of £he Interna¬ 
tional jAlliance of Theatrical Stage 
Employes, “a vicious racket prey¬ 
ing on the rank and file of American 
workers”; Mike Carrozzo, “a more 
or less Americanized labor racket¬ 
eer and gunman from Italy,” who 
rose to power and a federal indict¬ 
ment in Chicago; and a flock of 
other union officials, “low-grade 
hoodlums, criminals and ex-con¬ 
victs,” all now in New York Dis¬ 
trict Attorney Dewey’s clutches. 

Letters from exploited scrub¬ 
women tipped him off about George 
Scalise, president of the Building 
Service Employes Union. Scalise 
terrorized New York building and 
hotel owners for years until, in his 
own words, he was “ Peglcrized,” 
convicted of forgery and embezzle¬ 
ment, and sentenced to lo to 20 
years. This one-man campaign won 
Pegler the honor of being the first 
columnist to get the Pulitzer Prize 
for distinguished reporting. Inci¬ 
dentally Willie Bioff, his sentence 
served, was forgiven by his union, 
but not forgotten by Pegler. Now 
both Bioff and Browne have re¬ 
ceived a federal indictment for al¬ 
legedly extorting more than half a 
million dollars from four big movie 
studios. 

While a sports writer, Pegler oc¬ 
casionally was assigned to cover 
big news stories. He met Julia 
Harpman, a young crime reporter, 
while they were both working on 



24 


THE READER S DIGEST 


the Elwell murder case in 1920. 
Two years later they marred. For 
nine years Julia was bedridden 
with heart trouble. On one of their 
anniversaries Pegler ordered the 
biggest pair of silver foxes a mes- 
vSenger could carry. It was doubtful 
that Julia would ever be out of bed 
again, but he draped them around 
her neck and for weeks she sat up 
in bed all dolled up in silver foxes. 

Pegler was at home when a tele¬ 
gram from Columbia University 
announced that he had won the 
Pulitzer Prize. Soon the bells were 
ringing, flowers were arriving, and 
the yard was full of neighbors, 
friends and cars. Julia was lying 
down and Pegler, overcome by all 
this attention, sneaked upstairs, 
took her hand and said shyly, 
“Mom, I didn’t mean to do this 
to you.” “He’s as gentle as a child,” 
says Julia, which should be news 
for a lot of mugs. 

Living on a 30-acre farm, Pegler 
does all his work on the top floor of 
a small barn building. He seldom 
leaves the farm except to dig for 
material. After breakfast in bed, 
during which he reads all the New 
York papers, Pegler works about 
five hours, pacing up and down 
screaming with labor pains as he 
produces his daily 800 words. “He 
will agonize for 45 minutes over one 
word,” says Julia. You can imagine 
what exquisite torture goes into the 


fashioning of a little nosegay like 
this for the AFL: “A grjat, arro¬ 
gant, corrupt, hypocritical para¬ 
sitic racket, a front for panders, 
thieves, extortioners and thugs.” 

William Green, AFL head, in¬ 
sinuates that Pegler is a hireling 
propaganda-monger. But Pegler 
honestly believes that he is doing 
organized labor a service by expos¬ 
ing union rackets. He challenges 
Green: “You great big gorgeous 
pious friend of the workingman, un¬ 
der what bridge at what time of 
what night did what enemies of 
labor pay me how much to smear 
the movement?” He then suggests 
further disclosures: “Mr. Green 
has become jumpy waiting for me 
to drop that other shoe. As to that 
I will say that I am a centipede.” 

However, no centipede has enough 
feet for the boots that Pegler needs 
to kick all his pet hates around. 
Some critics sneer at him as a pro¬ 
fessional dissenter with a portable 
Wailing Wall. But Pegler is sin¬ 
cere, he is agin sin, and many 
things rub his fur the wrong way; 
he is Irish, pugnacious, devoutly re¬ 
ligious — and a bit of a fanatic. 

At times he is a saltier Billy Sun¬ 
day, at others a secular Savonarola 
with a sports-page vocabulary, but 
most of the time he is Amos, saying, 
“Jehovah took me from following 
the flock and said unto me, Go 
prophesy unto my people. . . 



Marxism is based on an expanding proletariat, but in 
America today the proletariat is fast diminishing 


The Twilight of Communism 
in the U. S. A. 

Condensed from Forbes 
Stuart Chase 


I F YOU HAVE an oil-burning fur¬ 
nace, you can easily see why 
communism is not coming to 
this country. By communism, I 
mean the standard concept, devel¬ 
oped by Karl Marx, of a society 
where the workers depose the capi¬ 
talists and set up a dictatorship of 
tile proletariat. 

This program has scared the tar 
out of solid citizens all over the 
world for many years. But the pro¬ 
gram is dying, and the thermostat 
on your wall tells why. Before you 
had an oil burner you shoveled coal 


S'lUART Chase writes of communism from 
the point of view of one who has been alert 
to defects in our own economic system, and 
has frequently urged measures to correct its 
human and material waste. A trained math¬ 
ematician and economist, Mr. Chase worked 
for many years as a Federal 'Frade Com¬ 
mission investigator and as a public account¬ 
ant for both private companies and govern¬ 
mental agencies. He has made extended 
studies of national productivity and govern¬ 
ment finances. Mr. Chase turned to writing 
some ten years ago, and his vivid style has 
won him a vastly larger audience than most 
economists reach. His books include Men 
and Machinesy The Tyranny of Words and 
The New Western Front, 


— and ashes. You — or somebody 
in your house — used your muscles, 
grew thoroughly hot, dirty'^ and 
profane. You were, while you 
sweated and swore, not a bad illus¬ 
tration of the Maixian proletariat. 
If you hired a janitor to do the dirty 
work, he was a real candidate for 
the proletariat. 

Now you flip a pointer on the 
thermostat, and that is that. You 
pay nobody to stoke your furnace, 
if the thing stops, you call Main 
6218, and the fixer comes a-run- 
ning with his tool kit. 

Observe how you have ceased 
to be an example of the proletariat; 
you watch a dial and never get 
your clothes dirty. The fixer is not 
a proletarian either; he knows too 
much, and would get pretty sore if 
you called him “masses.” 

What has happened with your 
oil burner is happening throughout 
the industrial system, as we swing 
from the machine age to the power 
age. In the machine age, armies of 
men sweat in huge, smoke-black¬ 
ened factories, amid a roar of belts 
and steam. In the power age, a 


Copyright tg^iy B. C, Forbes Pub. Co.y Ine., iso Fifth Aoe.y N. T. C. 
{ForbeSy August 15, '41) 


25 



26 THE reader's digest September 


few skilled inspectors, dial-watchers 
and repair men, in fluorescent- 
lighted modern plants, direct elec¬ 
trical energy through automatic 
mechanisms, which turn out goods 
“untouched by human hand.” 

Modern Marxists have tried hard 
to fit the inspectors and repair men, 
as well as clerks, teachers, even 
artists, into the classic proletarian 
mold. But most of these people 
have no desire to join a mass of pro¬ 
letarian brothers to set up barri¬ 
cades in the streets. 

Here is a modern powerhouse. 
That bunker of coal in the yard 
used to be shoveled from barges 
into wheelbarrows. Coal-passers 
would then wheel it in to the 
boiler room, where brawny firemen, 
stripped to the waist, stoked it into 
blazing furnaces. Proletarians all. 

You won’t find any proletarians 
around here now. Up in the sky you 
sec a track, supported by latticed 
steel towers. A little aerial cabin 
runs on the track. In the cabin sits 
just one man. He isn’t a proletarian 
slave of a machine, but the master 
of a machine. He runs his little 
caboose, and the iron grab hanging 
from it, out over a waiting barge. 
He drops the grab plunk into the 
barge’s insides. It gobbles a ton of 
coal. Then he heads for the power¬ 
house and pulls a lever in his 
cabin; br-r-rumpy the grab oj)ens up 
and down goes the load into the 
bunker. 

The interior of the powerhouse 
has the white-tiled, aluminum- 


saucepan look of a modern kitchen. 
There’s only one man in it — that 
chap up on the balcony, in front of 
all those dials. He is a combustion 
engineer. The dials tell him about 
the rise and fall of temperatures in 
the furnaces, the chemical composi¬ 
tion of gases, the flow of air and 
water. If you wait long enough you 
might see another man coming 
around with a long-nosed oilcan. 
He wanders in every now and then. 
Of couj-se this plant is already a bit 
old-fashioned. Some of the new 
powerhouses have no men inside 
them at all. Everything is run by 
remote control from a central sta¬ 
tion miles away. 

Here is an automatic conveyor 
beside a ship in New York Harbor. 
Four men operate the mechanism. 
They can unload as much cargo in a 
day as loo longshoremen. Long¬ 
shoremen are notorious candidates 
for the class-conscious proletariat. 

Around Pittsburgh the steel in¬ 
dustry has been introducing the 
continuous hot-strip mill. Twenty- 
seven have been built since 1926. 
I'he defense program is calling for 
more. The old method required 
steel to be handled more than 25 
times by hand tongs. The hot-strip 
mill takes a 6500-pound slab of sted 
out of the furnace automatically 
and rolls it into 1000 feet of hot 
strip at the rate of a third of a mile 
a minute. The strip is then coiled 
like thread on a spool and auto- ^ 
matically shunted into the pickling 
vats. To make 15,500,000 tons of 



THE TWILIGHT OF COMMUNISM 


27 


1941 

Steel in the old machine-age way 
took 125,000 brawny steelworkers. 
To make 14,000,000 tons in the 27 
new hot-strip mills takes 15,000 
workers. There are 100,000 fewer 
proletarian jobs in those mills. 

The hod carrier has been replaced 
by a hoisting engineer. With his 
electric motor and tackle, he can 
lift a hundred times as many bricks 
in a day, and his work is dignified 
and interesting. He is a director of 
power, not a generator of power. He 
does not consider himself “masses.” 
When the brotherhood of hoisting 
engineers throws a banquet, the 
brothers appear in tuxedos. 

The brotherhood may go op 
strike against their employers for 
higher wages and the Communist 
party will try to convince the 
brothers that the strike is part of 
the Class Struggle. Bur the broth¬ 
ers rarely see it this way. 'I'hey are 
simply raising the price of labor 
just as builders, contractors and 
landlords raise their prices when 
they think the traffic can stand it. 
They are having a local contest 
with a specific firm and not a class 
war. 

Factory machines have gone 
through three stages. First, they 
supplied more power to skilled 
handworkers. Second, they sub¬ 
divided the manufacturing process, 
allowing unskilled workers to feed 
the machine by hand. This is the 
typical machine-age, or “robot,” 
stage. Ford’s first assembly line is 
a good illustration. Third, ma¬ 


chines replaced the human robot 
with their own steel fingers, doing 
the feeding, processing, conveying 
and packaging themselves. 

The skilled worker now comes 
back into the picture, but with an 
entirely different function. He does 
not make the thing, he guides the 
machine which makes it; he must 
understand the process. His work 
thus becomes significant to him; he 
is no longer a cog in a blind mass of 
clanking gears. He feels important 
and useful. Human dignity re¬ 
turns; the robot disappears. 

The shift to the power age is far 
from complete, but it is going full 
speed ahead, especially under the 
urgency of defense production. Ev¬ 
ery new automatic mechanism, ev¬ 
ery new photoelectric cell, reduces 
the strength of the proletariat and 
makes communism less probable. 
Though a great deal of hard manual 
labor remains, and some will al¬ 
ways remain, the trend is strongly 
in the direction of inanimate en¬ 
ergy displacing muscular energy. 
Of all the energy consumed in the 
United States today, coal accounts 
for 57 percent, petroleum for 21 
percent, but manpower accounts 
for only about one percent — ap¬ 
proximately the same as windmills. 

Since 1920 production has in¬ 
creased greatly, but the number of 
workers has gone down. Take for a 
typical example the story in the 
copper mines: In 1919, 44,000 
miners, helped by 522,000 horse¬ 
power of energy, got out 36,000,000 



THE reader’s digest 


2 S 


tons of ore. In 1939, 24,000 miners, 
helped by 753,000 horsepower of 
energy, got out 52,000,000 tons of 
ore. In these six figures the end of 
communism is clearly written. 
According to Recent Social trends: 
“In 1870 about three quarters of 
the employed were producing pliys- 
ical goods. In 1930 only about half 
of the labor supply was so engaged.” 

What were the other half doing? 
They had taken off their overalls 
and put on white collars. They had 
become clerks, salesmen, stenog¬ 
raphers, teachers, engineers, den¬ 
tists, librarians, advertising men, 
beauticians, keepers of roadside 
stands, and, heaven help us, au¬ 
thors. 

From 1920 to 1930, those em¬ 
ployed in the service trades and 
the professions showed a gain of 
over 3,000,000. 'rhus, as the pro¬ 
letarians decline, the middle class 
gains. The 1940 Census of Occupa¬ 
tions will certainly show a similar 
trend, perhaps even more rapid. 

Service trade folks do not con¬ 
sider themselves “masses.” They 
are the despair of communist or¬ 
ganizers. Even when they keep 
their overalls on, and shift from a 
robot job in a factory to running a 
garage, they inevitably take on a 
middle-class psychology. U. S. 
Route I — or Route loi — is lined 
solidly with the new service trades. 
How many authentic proletarians 
can you find in its filling stations, 
tourist camps, Come-on-Inns and 
“flats fixed” emporiums? A man 


who leaves a factory bench and 
opens a filling station may earn less 
money than he used to,* but he feels 
he has gone up in the social scale. 

All this is enough to make Papa 
Marx heave in his grave. The 
whole communist philosophy is 
based on a proletariat which gets 
larger — and poorer — pitted against 
a small but powerful capitalist 
class, which gets richer and richer, 
'rhe two great antagonists are sup¬ 
posed to work a squeeze play on the 
middle class,, which is finally ex¬ 
terminated. But the facts show a 
declining proletariat, getting richer 
rather than jworer as average wages 
increase, a capitalist class which 
lost its top hat in 1929, and a 
middle class which obstinately re¬ 
fuses to be crushed. It above all 
others is carrying modern civiliza¬ 
tion on; it is now the largest and 
most vital class in existence. 

So scientific progress has made 
the revolutionary theories of Marx 
obsolete. I.ook at your thermostat 
again. Or listen to the old-fashioned 
jargon of the comrades down on 
Union Square. They talk about a 
malignant “Wall Street,” which is 
actually scrambling for pennies; 
about “oppressed peasants,” which 
is enough to infuriate any American 
farmer; about “labor creating all 
wealth” — which simply is not so. 

If the comrades really want to 
dress the part their doctrine plays 
today, they should grow handle-bar - 
mustaches and ride around Union 
Square on high-wheeled bicycles. 



Excerpts from the Collection of Brain Twisters by Peter Storme and Paid Stryfe 

(Answers on pai^e no) 


1. Two bicyclists approach each other 
on a straight road, pedaling at 15 miles 
an hour. When they are 30 miles apart 
a horsefly alights on one bicycle, then 
dashes off to the other. It shuttles back 
and forth between the two at 20 miles 
an hour until the riders meet. How 
far has it traveled? 

Can you give in five seconds three 
numbers which give the same total 
when added as whc/i multiplied to¬ 
gether? 

A tramp finds himself out of cig¬ 
arettes. He casts about for butts, having 
learned that seven butts make a cig¬ 
arette practically as good as new. He 
gathers 49 stubs. If he smokes one 
cigarette every three quarters of an 
hour, how long will his supply last ? 

4 . How far can a dog run into the 
forest? 

A man travels to work on a circular 
railway. His oflicc is at a point diamet¬ 
rically opposite his home. In one direc¬ 
tion, at 40 miles an hour, the journey 
takes him one hour 20 minutes. In the 
other direction, at the same speed, it 
takes 80 minutes. Why? 

( Lewis Carroll, mathematician and 
author of Alice in Wonderland, is sjiid to 
have invented the amusement called 
Mishmash. The problem is to think of a 
good English word which contains the 
given letters in their given order with¬ 
out any other letters between. Suppose 


you arc given GN. Gnaw would be a 
correct answer. Here arc a few to whet 
your appetite on: 

1. WKW 3. CHEO 

2. KC 4. ERIIA 

5. LTP 

7 * There are five apples in a basket and 
five people in the room. How can you 
give an apple to each one and have one 
apple remain in the basket? 

' Suppose you have |i6 and bet half 
on the toss of a coin. Win 01 lose, you 
bet half of what you then have on a 
second toss; again half of all you then 
have on a third ‘oss; and so on for six 
tosses. Now assume you’ve won three 
times and lost three limes. Will you be 
ahead, behind, or even? 

A farmer has 3 7/9 haystacks in one 
corner of his field, and 4 6/15 haystacks 
in another corner of his field. If he puts 
them all together, how many haystacks 
will he have? 

1 fl- Present were a senator, a broker, a 
lawyer, and a doctor. Their names (not 
in the same order) were Alfred, Alex¬ 
ander, Albert, and Aloysius. Alfred and 
the broker were on bad terms with 
Albert, but Alexander was on the best 
of terms with the doctor. Albert was 
related to the lawyer, and the senator 
was a good friend of Aloysius and the 
doctor. Can you pair up the profession 
with the name? 


Copyright t94T, Simon and Sebustert Ine., Rockefeller Center, N. 7 *. C. 


29 


Higher and higher fly the bombers, thanks 
to a long-neglected American invention 


The Sky V iSTo Limit for Dr. Mvss 

Condensed fr6m The Toronto Star.Weekly 
Harland Manchester 


D r. Sanford A. Moss, a lively 
old inventor with a pointed 
beard and a whimsical pen¬ 
chant for matching quarters, was 
put on the shelf three years ago 
after the usual farewell banquets 
and oratory. He was expected to 
content himself with his hobbies, 
genealogy and archaeology, the little 
while longer a bad heart would let 
him live. To be candid, he had 
seemed to some a bit of a bore for 
2o-odd years, always talking about 
his pet invention to enable planes 
to fly high. The invention went on 
the shelf with him. 

1'hen war broke, and it quickly 
became apparent that the planes 
which are best for high flying are 
the planes which will win. 'I'hey 
sent for Dr. Moss, dusted off his 
invention and adopted it. Among 
the first planes in which it has 
been used are the American bomb¬ 
ers recently delivered to Britain — 
the ones which are giving Germany 
a bitter taste of her own medicine. 
They cruise at extremely high alti¬ 
tudes and, in that rarefied atmos¬ 
phere which used to make heavy 
bombers an easy prey for attackers, 
they show a speed and maneuver¬ 


ability which has astounded the 
Nazis. 

Factories to manufacture mil¬ 
lions of dollars’ worth of Moss tur¬ 
bine superchargers are being rushed 
to completion.’Dr. Moss, at 69, is 
back on the job, working hard all 
day and every day, acclaimed as 
the genius who is revolutionizing 
airplane performance. 

In an airplane motor, combustion 
of gasoline calls for a lot of oxygen 
in a great hurry. At high altitudes 
the motor’s ordinary intake does 
not supply enough. At 20,000 feet, 
for example, the motor loses 56 
percent of its power, and the speed 
of the plane drops sharply. A super¬ 
charger compresses the thin air of 
great heights to the density of sea- 
level air and pumps it into the 
motor. The usual supercharger is 
driven by gears from the motor; in 
the Moss supercharger a turbine 
spun by exhaust gases drives the 
pump. 

The invention already has opened 
a new ceiling for American planes, 
though its full possibilities have, 
not been realized. When the design 
of other factors has caught up — 
improved oxygen equipment for 


Copyright Toronto Star, Ltd., So King St., W., Toronto, Canada 
JO (The Toronto Star Weekly, August ij, '41) 



THE sky’s no limit FOR DR. MOSS 




the crew, to mention one detail — 
bombers will make top speed at 
six miles above the earth, and do 
it as routine. Probably within the 
year. 

Dr. Moss began studying pumps 
when, as a boy, he became fasci¬ 
nated with an air compressor used 
by his father, a mining engineer, 
to drive rock drills. At i6 he ap¬ 
prenticed himself to the manufac¬ 
turer who made them. He tried to 
improve the machine, but found 
that he didn’t know enough engi¬ 
neering. College was indicated. He 
had no money, but at the Univer¬ 
sity of California he got a job as 
janitor of the machine shop. Every¬ 
day, after he had swept the floor, 
finished his stint on a delivery 
wagon, tutored a blind student 
and prepared his own lessons, he 
would go to the shop and plot in¬ 
ventions. 

When he was a junior — in 1895 
— he invented a gas turbine com¬ 
bining the principles of the internal 
combustion engine and the steam 
turbine. In it burning fuel spun 
the blades of a circular turbine, 
instead of driving a piston. But 
when he tried to make the engine 
do some work it coughed dismally 
and died. It generated enough power 
to run itself, but none was left over. 

After getting his degree Moss 
went to Cornell as an instructor to 
try to discover, among other things, 
why his gas turbine wouldn’t de¬ 
liver^ power. On the basis 6f his 
Ph.D. thesis, the General Electric 


Company signed him up to con¬ 
tinue his research at their Lynn, 
Mass., plant. 

After a while Dr. Moss’s ambi¬ 
tious plans for a gas turbine had 
to be put aside for other work. He 
turned out a new centrifugal air 
compressor which industry adopted 
rapidly. He was then put to work 
on the steam turbine — a mechan¬ 
ical first cousin of his compressors 
— which has revolutionized sta¬ 
tionary and marine steam power. 
Moss helped perfect it and engi¬ 
neered it from the individually 
tailored phase into mass production. 

In 1917 the Army Air Corps 
heard of European experiments with 
turbine superchargers and came to 
General Electric for help. Dr. Moss 
trotted out the gas turbine of his 
student days. It was hooked up to 
a Liberty motor, the spurting ex¬ 
haust gases of which turned its 
blades. The turbine drove a high¬ 
speed centrifugal air compressor, 
and the motor developed new 
power. % 

The Army arranged a test on the 
14,108-foot crest of Pike’s Peak, 
where the thin air duplicated the 
atmosphere of what was then high- 
altitude flying. The turbosuper¬ 
charger behaved exactly as Dr. 
Moss had predicted. Without it, 
the high altitude reduced the mo¬ 
tor’s 350 horsepower to a bare 230. 
The supercharger stepped it up to 

356. 

Soon after the Pike’s Peak demon¬ 
stration, Lieut. John A. McCready 



32 


THE KEAUEK S UlUEST 


and Major R. W. Schroetier, Army 
Air Corps pilots, vied with each 
other in breaking the world’s alti¬ 
tude record with Moss supercharged 
planes. Schroeder set the mark of 
36,130 feet and nearly lost his life 
when he ran out of oxygen to 
breathe. 

Many improvements have been 
made in that early supercharger, 
but it was fundamentally the same 
as the one now being turned out 
as fast as plants can be built. Today 
the turbosupercharger enables planes 
to operate effectively as high as 
40,000 feet. High flying is no less 
important in civil aviation than in 
military flying. Sober experts look 
forward to a day not far distant 
when supercharged planes will zip 
across the continent in the substra¬ 
tosphere in perhaps six hours. It 
will be safer than flying low for the 
planes will be far above storms and 
mountain peaks. 

Of course work on war planes 
died with the Armistice, but Dr. 


Moss kept plugging away, forever 
buttonholing plane manufacturers 
and Air Corps officers to preach the 
merits of the supercharger. Finally 
under his persistent hammering and 
that of like-minded enthusiasts, 
aviation did accept supercharging. 
But, ironically, it adopted the geared 
supercharger. Dr. Moss had also 
helped perfect that but it is not as 
efficient as his turbosupercharger. 
It works effectively only at one or 
two definite altitudes for which it 
is set, while the<turbosupercharger 
automatically regulates itself at any 
altitude. 

On January i, 1938, Dr. Moss 
retired, but his retirement was 
short. Bombs started falling and 
aviation discovered it needed him 
again. lie is now looking far beyond 
the present use of his turbines and 
compressors. He cannot conceal the 
fact that he likes what he sees 
ahead, but he won’t talk about it. 
At 69 he has a big career ahead of 
him. 




cJervioj mih a cfmtle 


Q^riving into a Laguna Beach, Calif., service station, a motorist 
asked for 10 gallons of gas. 'I’hree service men hopped to work smartly 
-cleaning windshield, checking tires and water, etc. The driver 
paid his bill and drove' olF. 

A few minutes later he returned and asked: “Did any of you put 
gas in my car?” The three attendants went into a huddle — then 
confessed nobody had. —Newsweek 




A Lesson from an Eskimo 


By 

Conlran de Poncins 


W E HAD been 30 days on the 
trail — I and the Eskimo 
family I traveled with. What 
with the wind, the cold — it was 
50 below — and the Eskimo men¬ 
tality, it was the toughest trip I 
had ever experienced. 

1 felt as if fate were working 
maliciously to delay us. One day 
the blizzard would keep u& squat¬ 
ting in an igloo. Another, some 
queer fancy would take my native 
companions and, though the day 
was good, they would stop to build 
a new igloo instead of pushing 
ahead. 

Several times I had asked the old 
man of the family: 

“How many more days is it to 
King William Land?” 

He had never answered directly. 
Eskimos do not like questions. They 
think them rude. Only a white man 
would ask a thing like that. Besides, 
Eskimos don't like to commit them¬ 
selves. “What will the weather be 
tomorrow?” you ask. The Eskimo 
knows well enough, but he will 
answer politely: ^^Mauna ” — “I 
don’t know” — and pretend to be 
busy with the dogs, as if to ^ay, 
“Why should I answer? If my 
answer is right 1 shaU be no better 


for it; if wrong I shall look a fool!” 

All the morning, all the after¬ 
noon we pushed across the frozen 
sea, stopping only to untangle the 
dogs’ traces or to light a pipe. We 
sighted land. Perhaps we would 
reach it. Then when hope was in 
sight the wind rose, the land was 
obscured by whirling snow, lost in 
what, for me, was the gray despair 
of nothingness. 

We stopped again. Slowly, with¬ 
out haste, with that perfect urban¬ 
ity in which the Eskimo accepts 
life and fate, Ohudlerk, the old 
man, talked with his wife and his 
little girl. At home in France a 
peasant in a rainstorm would stop 
with the same coolness to inspect 
his plow. 

Hardly able to bear my distress, 
I again asked the old man my 
question. 

“When do you think, now, that 
we shall get to King William Land?” 

Whether this time his patience 
was at an end, or whether he was 
really concerned, I shall never 
know. He turned back to his wife 
and they had some silent under¬ 
standing together. 

Then he came to me and looked 
up. He spoke in that light, almost 


33 



34 


THE READER'S DIGEST September 


careless way the natives have when 
they are prudent and afraid at the 
same time: 

“Don’t the dogs go as well as 
yf)u would like?” 

I'hcre was silence. The dogs had 
turned their heads as they do when 
they pull up, and were looking at 
me. The woman and the child pre¬ 
tended to be busy but I knew that 
1 was the focus of their attention 
too. In the instant everything 
seemed to come to a standstill. 
Kskimos give you that feeling in 
their tense moments. They have a 
way of giving weight to silence. 
Would they leave it at that? No, 
it had gone too far. Finally the old 
man, as if he could not rid himself 
of his doubts, said; 

“Isn’t that sled a good sled? 
Aren’t you glad that the snow over 
the sea is lasting through our 
journey?” 

He kept looking at me with deeply 
troubled eyes. The stone age with 
its simplicity, the Orient with its 
wisdom were looking at me, trying 
to understand — or, rather, trying 
to make themselves understood. 
Then suddenly I saw what the old 
eyes were saying. 

“Why hurry?” they said. “And 
where is it that you are always 
wanting to be going? Why concern 
yourself with the future when the 
present is so magnificent?” 

The old man, that day, taught 
me a lesson which I have not for¬ 
gotten. In my feverish thinking of 
tomorrow I had failed to appreciate 


today. In the old man’s presence I 
remembered what someone had 
said to me; “To think of the past 
is to regret it; to think of the fu¬ 
ture is to fear it.” But the present! 
Is not that the only understandable 
reality? 

The world is what your mind 
makes of it. To me the Arctic had 
been heartbreaking; to the Eski¬ 
mos it had been a great empire of 
which they were the kings. To me 
the snow had been loathsome; to 
them it was a blessing and a sacred 
gift, h^rom the thousand facets of 
life we are free to choose between 
sorrow and hope. 

We rush along the highways of 
life, ignoring the landscape. Who 
was it who said, “Luxury consists 
in having time to spare” — time 
to stop and think? The Eskimos 
stop when they please, though to¬ 
morrow holds for them, as for us, 
the eternal possibility of starvation 
and death. So death when it comes 
finds them still happy in the pres¬ 
ent, and they go without regret. 

I have learned, since Ohudlerk 
spoke to me with his eyes, what 
poverty of soul I had suffered in 
the Arctic. I have learned to make 
each day as rich as if there were 
to be no tomorrow. Nothing the 
future may do to me can change 
what I now possess. 

In Vancouver, when the long 
trek was over, I caught mysdf ^ 
rushing to the hotel as if there were 
no time to lose. Suddenly I stopped 
in the middle of the traffic. Horns 



mr 

sounded from all directions but I 
didn’t hear them. It was as if 
Ohudlerk stood in the street before 
me, watching me with those wise, 
ancient, questioning ahd troubled 
eyes, asking me if the dogs were 
not good dogs and was not the snow 
indeed a gift from heaven. 

And I found myself laughing. 


35 

“What fools we are!” I thought. 
I still do. 


Gomtran de Poncins, member of a dis¬ 
tinguished French family, served as an in¬ 
terpreter with the A.E.F. during the World 
War and later became a roving newspaper 
correspondent. He is the author of Kabloona, 
recent best seller. 


PROFIT BY MY EXPERIENCE 


—II— 

Reward of Mercy 

By 

A, y, Cronin 


I WAS RAISED in the strict tradi¬ 
tion that if one did wrong one 
should be punished for it. That 
was called justice. 

In 1921, as a young doctor, I 
took over the post of medical officer 
to a fever hospital in a bleak and 
isolated district of Northumber¬ 
land. One winter evening, shortly 
after my arrival, a diphtheria case 
was admitted: a little boy of six so 
desperately choked with membrane 
that an immediate tracheotomy 
offered the only slender chance of 
saving him. 

Painfully inexperienced, I had 
never attempted this simple but 
. CHicial operation. As I stood in the 
bare, lamp-lit ward and watched 
the old sister and the only nurse — 
a junior probationer — place the 


gasping child upon the table I felt 
myself trembling, cold and sick. 

I began the operation; a nervous 
incision into that thin, congested 
throat. As I fumbled on, conscious 
of my own incompetence, a reso¬ 
lution to succeed, to save this suffo¬ 
cating child took possession of me. 
At last the stem of the trachea 
showed white and shining under 
my sweat-dimmed eyes. I slit it 
and a rush of air filled the child’s 
struggling chest. Again and again 
the tortured lungs expanded. As 
new strength flooded the exhausted 
little body, I could have cried 
aloud in relief. Quickly I slipped 
in the tracheotomy tube, com¬ 
pleted the sutures, saw the child 
comfortable in his steam-tented 
bed. I went back to my own quar- 



^6 THE READER'S DIGEST September 


ters in a glow of triumphant joy. 

Four hours later, at two o’clock 
in the morning, I was roused by a 
frantic knocking at my door. Tt was 
the young nurse. White-faced, hys¬ 
terical, she stammered: “Doctor, 
doctor, come quickly.” 

She had drowsed off by the child’s 
cot and awakened to find that the 
tube had become blocked. Instead 
of following instructions and clear¬ 
ing the tube of membrane, a matter 
of nursing routine, she had lost her 
head and committed the unpardon¬ 
able sin of bolting in panic. When I 
got to the ward the child was dead. 
Nothing we could do was of any 
avail. 

'rhe sense of loss, the needless, 
culpable waste of human life over¬ 
whelmed me. Worst of all was the 
thought of my precious case wrecked 
by the blundering negligence of a 
frightened nurse. My anger blazed 
at white heat. Of course her career 
was finished. I would send a report 
to the County Health Board, and 
she would be kicked out of the 
hospital, expelled from the nursing 
body to which she belonged. 

That evening I dipped my pen in 
vitriol and wrote the indictment. I 
summoned her and read it to her 
in a voice burning with indignation. 


A. J. Cronin was a prosperous London 
doctor when, in 1931, his health broke. 
While convalescing he wrote Hatter's Castle, 
which launched him on a literary career. 
His new novel, 'The Keys of the Kingdom, is 
the Book-of-the-Month Club selection for 
tonust. 


She heard me in pitiful silence. 
She was a raw Welsh girl^f about 
19, thin and rather gawky, with a 
nervous tremor of her cheek. Ane¬ 
mic and undernourished, she was 
now half-fainting with shame and 
misery. 

Her failure to make any sort of 
excuse — she might with some jus¬ 
tification have pleaded that she 
was worn out with overwork — 
stung me into exclaiming: “Have 
you nothing to say?” 

She shook her head wanly. Sud- 
denlv she stammered: “Give me an- 
other chance.” 

I was taken aback. The idea had 
never entered my head. My sole 
thought was to make her pay for 
what she had done. I stared at her, 
then dismissed her curtly. I signed 
and sealed my report. 

All through that night I was 
strangely troubled. “Give me an¬ 
other chance.” A queer echo kept 
drumming in my head, an echo 
which whispered that my justice, 
that all justice was no more than a 
primitive desire for revenge. An¬ 
grily I told myself not to be a fool. 

Yet next morning I went to the 
letter rack and tore up my report. 

That was 20 years ago. Today 
the nurse who erred so fatally is 
matron of the largest children’s 
home in Wales. Her career has been 
a model of service and devotion. 
Only a week ago I received a photo¬ 
graph showing a middle-aged woman 
in matron’s uniform, surrounded 
by children, in an air-raid shelter. 



1941 


PROFIT BY MY EXPERIENCE 


37 


* She looks harassed and weary; but 
the childish eyes which gaze at her 
are filled with trust and love. 
“Forgive us our trespasses as we 


forgive those that trespass against 
us.” It’s hard to practice that 
simple prayer. But, even in this 
life, it pays. * 


—Ill — 

The Lesson of the Old Sock 

By 

Vicki Baum 


W HEN I was five I tried to 
learn to swim, but the rope 
which I grasped to keep' 
myself afloat broke. Paralyzed with 
fear, I sank to the bottom of the 
pool. They finally brought me up, 
but for years after, whenever I 
tried to swim, my heart pounded, 
every muscle stiflened and I couldn't 
breathe. 

“Relax! Let yourself float!” 
people shouted — but no one told 
me how to relax, and I didn’t learn 
to swim. 

When I was nine I played the 
harp, and I played very well until 
I stepped onto a concert platform. 
Then I became cramped with stage 
fright; my fingers grew stiff, my 
instrument sounded harsh and dull. 
My teacher made faces at me from 
the wings and hissed: “Keep your 
.fingers loose! Relax!” But I didn’t 
know bow to relax. 

About that time a little ofd man 
in funny, old-fashioned clothes 


used to feed the birds in the park 
where we children played. He would 
sit for hours on a bench and watch 
us, making jokes that we loved and 
tossing back our ball with amazing 
dexterity when it rolled his way. 
He told us to call him Uncle Pieter. 
When we found out he had been a 
famous circus clown he took on 
added glamour and we clustered 
eagerly around him. 

One day I stumbled and fell, and 
when Uncle Pieter picked me up 
my knees were bleeding and my 
wrist was sprained. 

“You hurt yourself because you 
don't know how to fall,” he said. 
“That’s the first thing you must 
learn in life: to fall without getting 
hurt. Fall from a chair—from a 
horse — from success. When I was 
no older than you, I had fallen so 
often that almost every bone in my 
lx>dy had been broken. Then I 
learned to fall without breaking. 
I’ll teach you.” 



THE READER^S DIGEST 



September 


That summer Uncle Pieter taught 
me the first tricks circus children 
learn: splits, flip-flops and saltos. 
You could do them only if you 
were relaxed but Uncle Pieter didn't 
yell “Relax!” as the others had 
done: he showed me how, 

“You're nothing but a soft, crum¬ 
pled old sock,” he explained. “Get 
it? When you're an old sock you 
can fall and not feel it. Old socks 
can’t get hurt and can’t get broken. 
'That's the whole secret. Now' let’s 
play old sock. Don’t resist. All your 
body soft and floppy? No muscles 
stiff anywhere ? ” With that he lifted 
me from the ground and dropped 
me. And I wasn’t hurt. So I learned 
my lesson. 

Tt was one of the most important I 
have ever learned. Later it became 
not only a physical but a mental 
discipline. 

Most people try to relax merely 
when resting, but I learned that 
you also work best when )ou are 
relaxed. If I get stuck when writing 
a story, or have forgotten some¬ 
thing, I mentall}'^ turn myself into 
an old sock and everything straight¬ 
ens itself out. Whenever an ordeal 
is a bit too much for me — a too- 
heavy lecture schedule, a loss, a 
danger, a pain — I apply the old- 
sock technique, and I can “takeit.” 

When I was 15 my mother was 
taken to the hospital to be operated 
on, and the doctors gave little hope. 
Waiting tensely in her room while 
they operated, I trembled, my hands 
were cold and numb, every nerve 


in my body was painfully cramped. 
I’hen I remembered Unule Pieter. I 
could almost hear his voice again, 
cajoling me to turn myself into an 
old sock. And 1 began to relax. I 
made myself completely empty of 
apprehension; and, as J loosened 
up, my hands grew warm, the paral¬ 
ysis of fear left me, new thoughts 
began streaming into my mind as 
if to fill the vacuum. I asked the 
nurse for paper and pencil and be¬ 
gan to write a story. 

I'orgetting tfme and place, I wrote 
— \intil they brought my mother 
from the operating tabic. The or¬ 
deal was over. I sat at her bedside 
while she was still unconscious, and 
calmly worked on. Never have I 
written as easily as I did during 
those horrible hours. 

Later, that story received first 
prize in an important contest, and 
thus became the first steppingstone 
in my career as a writer. 

Complete relaxation is not only a 
lifesaver in crises; we need it every 
day. When you want to make a 
good impression, relax. Self-cen¬ 
tered people are rarely relaxed and 
they make others ill at ease. The 
old-sock condition makes you re¬ 
ceptive to other people's joys and 
woes, and they like you for it. When 
you're applying for a job, enter¬ 
taining guests, driving a car, teach¬ 
ing your child, relax, please — be 
an old sock and relax. We can do^ 
nothing really well if we are tense. ' 
Just ask dancers, singers, artists, 
athletes, fighters, fliers, creative 



PROFIT BY MY EXPERIENCE 


S 9 


mr 

''persons in any field and they will 
tell you of the importance of learn¬ 
ing to relax. 

You can train yourself to relax. 
The first step is to get control over 
yourself, to become conscious of 
every stiffening and be able to loosen 
up at once. Get into pajamas and 


Vicki Baum was already a noted writer in 
Vienna when she brought out Grand Hotel 
in 1931. On the wings of that success she 
came to the United States, and is now a 
naturalized citizen. Since 1932 she has been 
writing motion pictures and plays, as well 
as fiction. 


lie on the floor. Relax each limb. 
Now search for little muscles that 
are still tense. As you loosen them 
up your breath slows down, you 
feel completely empty and your 
nerves become tranquil. With prac¬ 
tice you will be able to relax any 
time, anywhere. 

I believe the old-sock technique 
will make easy the most important 
task anyone has to face. I can pic¬ 
ture myself in my dying hour, all 
relaxed and at peace, saying: ‘T’m 
only an old sock. Lord — take me 
away.” 




(9ou, (Same <JCc 


ome 


MORNING late in 1940 Jim Moran, America’s Number i Prankster, 
pickcxl up a poetry anthology and a verse written years ago by Gclctt 
Burgess fell under his eye: 


I never saw a purple cow, 

I never hope to see one; 
But 1 can tell you, anyhow, 
rd rather see than be onel 


This lay insinuated itself into Jim’s consciousness, and all day long kept 
singing through his head. Gradually he worked up a fine hate for the author. 

At five o’clock on the afternoon of December 31, Burgess was in his 
apartment in New York. The telephone rang, and he was asked to descend 
to the lobby. There Moran was waiting for him. 

“Mr. Burgess?’’ Jim asked. 

“Yes,” said Mr. Burgess. 

“Just one moment, please,” said Jim. He went out to the street and re¬ 
turned in a few seconds leading a purple cow. Jockeying the animal up to 
Mr. Burgess, he squared her around and said; “There!” 

. ^ Mr. Burgess was overwhelmed. The purple cow — so rendered by Jim’s 
use of a government-approved cosmetic dye— was quite gaudy. Three 
of her teats were gold-tipped, and one was silver. Mr. Burgess swears he will 
never forget the sight of her as long as he lives. 

H. Allen Smith, Lotv Man on a Totem Pole (Doubleday, Doran) 



C Radio station WRUI- strengthens beleaguered 
Europe with American morale 

Democracy on the Short Waves 

Condensed from The Living Age 
Webb Waldron 

u^nri-^HE Nazis have forbidden us under Hitler’s heel. “The spiritual 
I to listen to foreign radio,” help you give us is almost more 
JL says an unsigned letter from important than bread or clothing,” 
Norway to station WRUL, Boston, says a letter from Holland. 

“but almost every night three fam- And WRUL is heard! It is stir- 
ilics gather under our roof and tune ring to watch* its mail roll in - at 
in. Your messages keep our courage the rate of icxd letters a day, in 
up.” every language, censored and un- 

In pencil on a scrap of notepaper censored, from Glasgow, Oslo, Lima, 
is a letter smuggled out of France Bombay, Rotterdam, Paris, Cape 
and mailed from Lisbon: “We listen Town, from lonely islands and ships 
every day. Only from your broad- in far ports -- - letters full of trag- 
casts do we learn the truth . . . edy, determination, hope. Perhaps 
only thus do we hear about the a third come from the British Isles, 
heroic army of JDe Gaulle, the cou- A wall map of France is thickly 
rageous British air fighters. You stuck with pins, representing towns 
give us hope that France will again from which letters of thanks have 
be free.” come, even though many French 

WRUL, the most powerful short- letters, smuggled out, prudently 
wave station in the Western Hemi- bear no place name. In one week 
sphere and this country’s only big 136 letters came from Norway alone, 
noncommercial station, works 24 WRUL thinks it has 750,000 lis- 
hours a day carrying news and en- teners in Britain; in the conquered 
couragement through Nazi bar- countries half a million who, of 
tiers. On seven beams that reach course, spread its messages to mil- 
every continent, and in a dozen lions more. 

languages, it broadcasts informa- Dr. Goebbels believes the station 
tion the dictators would suppress, is important. Repeatedly the German 
It reads the communiques of all radio has warned against WRUL’s 
combatants. It tells of America’s “democratic drivel.” “Troubte-^ ^ 
mighty preparations. It sends mo- maker,” the Nazis call it, “unjusti- 
rale-building programs to the peoples fiably interfering with the estab- 

Copyrigbt 1^41^ 'The Living Age Co.^ Ine., ay W. 43 J/., /V. T, C. 

‘ (Xbe Living Agtf September,'4/) 



DEMOCRACY ON THE SHORT WAVES 




lishment of the New Order in 
Europe.” 

German annoyance is under- 
standable. For one thing, WRUL de¬ 
prived the Nazis of a rich spoil of 
war — 900 ships. When Norway 
fell, Norwegian shipowners were 
compelled to broadcast to their 
merchant fleet at sea that all was 
serene, and to come home. But 
W^RUL broadcast the true state of 
affairs, and not one ship went back 
to Norway. They now operate under 
the Norwegian government-in-exile 
in London and the 25,000 sailors - - 
who can’t write home and thus re¬ 
veal the whereabouts of their ships 
— send and receive messages from 
their families through WRUL. Here 
is a typical request: “Kindly send 
a greeting to my husband, chief 
engineer Hokan Berntsen, motor- 
ship Kalkis. Tell him all is well at 
home. Anna.” 

One Norwegian, a six-footer with 
steel-blue eyes, came to the station 
to tell how in Norway he had heard 
from WRUL of the Norwegian bat¬ 
talion forming in Canada. He slipped 
into Sweden, flew to Moscow, then 
by train, boat and car he traveled 
to Bombay, where he caught a 
Norwegian ship for Boston. Every¬ 
where during his three months’ 
trip he had listened to WRLTL. 
“You’re doing a superb job for 
^orway and for humanity!” he 
said. Then he strode out to take 
the train for Canada. 

Ever since the Nazis seized Hol¬ 
land, Hendrik Willem Van Loon 


has been broadcasting in Dutch. 
His program is so successful that 
one morning an iron statue in Delft 
carried this placard: “Here is the 
only man in Holland who doesn’t 
listen to WRUL!” 

A letter, passed by the German 
censor, seemed to be from a Dutch 
Nazi. It denounced the lying demo¬ 
cratic prcjpaganda of WHtlL, praised 
the Germans, told how they had 
done away with unemployment in 
Holland, etc. But the letter was 
signed “L. Andersom.” Which is 
thinly disguised Dutch for “read 
the opposite.” 

The seamen of the Dutch mer¬ 
chant fleet and their families at 
home also depend on WRUJ. for 
news of each other. “Mv dear man ” 
— reads one letter — “ We do so 
long for you. Every night when I 
pray the child sits watching me, 
and when I have finished he says, 
‘Papa.’ He grows so fast that you 
will not know him. Your loving 
wife — Leni von Z.” But WRUL 
has news that this man’s ship was 
sunk with all hands by a Nazi 
bomb three months ago. 

WRUL’s Dutch announcer, Onne 
Liebert, shipped as cook on a boat 
for Sweden, jumped ship at Stock¬ 
holm, got to Moscow and across 
Siberia to the U. S. Recently Liebert 
had a letter from a young Hol¬ 
lander in England. “I heard you 
tell over WRUI^ how you got out of 
Holland. I tried the same method 
and now I’m in the Dutch legion in 
England.” 



THE READER'S DIGEST 


42 


September 


The station does other things to 
enspirit the beleaguered nations. 
Walter S. Lemmon, who founded 
and heads WRUL, organized the 
Friendship Bridge, an hour on 
which British children evacuated 
here speak cheerily to their families 
and friends back home. Every week 
a New England town broadcasts 
to a town of the same name in 
England — Boston to Boston, Fal¬ 
mouth to Falmouth, Bath to Bath. 
New Englanders tell the Old Eng¬ 
landers what they are doing, plan¬ 
ning and hoping for Britain. 

The French hour, “America Speaks 
to France,” is equally intimate and 
pei-sonal. “Why are you boys study¬ 
ing French ? ” a New England teacher 
asked his pupils grouped before 
the microphone. “Well,” said one, 
“my father fought in France in the 
other war and Tve always admired 
France.” “Do you still admire 
France?” “Yes, 1 do,” the boy 
said stoutly. “It wasn’t the French 
people that knuckled under. bVance 
will come back.” 

The story of how WRUL came 
about has straightforward logic and 
consistency. When the George Wash¬ 
ington took President Wilson to 
the Paris Peace Conference in De¬ 
cember 1918, Wilson asked for the 
best available radio officer; 22- 
year-old Lieutenant Walter Lem¬ 
mon, U.S.N., was assigned. 

“At the Conference,” said Lem¬ 
mon, “I saw the chief trouble was 
that the people of the different 
jee^ntries didn’t understand each 


other. They’d never had a chance 
to. The result was a peace treaty 
that had the germs of another war.” 

On the voyage back from Paris, 
Lemmon suggested to Wilson an 
international university of the air 
to bring the common people of the 
earth together in mutual compre¬ 
hension and amity. 

“Lemmon,” said President Wil¬ 
son, “you have a magnificent idea! 
ril work with you on it.” 

But before that time could come 
Wilson was a broken man. 

Lemmon quit the Navy and be¬ 
came a consulting radio engineer. 
In 1931 he sold to RCA an im¬ 
portant invention — one-dial tun¬ 
ing control. He used most of the 
proceeds to realize his dream. He 
chose Boston because he found there 
the most sympathetic atmosphere 
for what he hoped to do. Harvard 
teachers had already offered to help 
on programs. M.I.T. men helped 
generously on the technical side. 

Through the following years the 
World Radio University grew steadily 
toward its high-sounding name. 
College professors contributed to 
build a full day and evening of 
courses in world history, art and 
literature, in languages, science and 
engineering. Fundamental in all 
programs was the drive toward in¬ 
ternational amity, the breaking 
down of prejudices, the forgetting 
of past wrongs. 

When war broke in 1939, Lem¬ 
mon and his co-workers swung 
WRUL into the fight for democ- 



DEMOCRACV ON THE SHORT WAVES 


43 


ig4i 

racy. As the Nazi juggernaut swept 
over Europe, WRUL shaped that 
fight into spiritual help for Europe’s 
stricken peoples. 

IJntrammeled by the rigid sched¬ 
ules of advertising contracts, WRUL 
can shift its emphasis swiftly as war 
changes. During the week when 
President Roosevelt appealed to 
the French people not to follow 
the “cooperators,” WRUL had 
scheduled nine broadcasts to France 
and her colonies, but actually gave 
21. Our State Department received 
cabled reports of the tremendous 
effect these broadcasts had in France. 

When the war started in Syria, 
WRUL quickly arranged bro'ud- 
casts to Syria in French and Arabic, 
to encourage the British and the 
Free French and to draw the Arabs 
to their side. When Germany at- 
tacketl Russia, WRUL started bix)ad- 
casts in Russian to impress the 
Soviets with our anti-Nazi policy 
and the magnitude of our war 
preparations. 

When the “V for Victory” cam¬ 
paign began, WRUTL put on a series 
of special broadcasts. “Everywhere 
in Europe,” said WRUL, “V’s are 
being written on walls and pave¬ 
ments and scratched on Germans’ 
cars. Everywhere men are greeting 
each other with an upraised hand 
with fingers spread in a V, every¬ 
where V has become the symbol of 
,.«4lent resistance to Nazi tyranny! 
And everyone knows that V in Ger¬ 
man doesn’t stand for Victory but 
for VerhotenV' In the 2o-sccond 


intervals of switching from one 
language to another, the opening 
bars of Beethoven’s Fifth Sym¬ 
phony — resembling the three dots 
and a dash of V in the Morse code 
— were played on all WRUL broad¬ 
casts. 

Latin America is not forgotten. 
One feature of the World Radio 
University, a course in Basic Eng¬ 
lish, has been adapted for Spanish¬ 
speaking people. Other features are 
travelogues, covering both conti¬ 
nents, and news. 

'I'here is no government control 
of WRUL, but the cooperation is 
intimate. The government thinks 
so highly of the station that it 
recently permitted an increase in 
power from 20,000 to 50,000 watts, 
and Lemmon expects this fall to 
step one of the two transmitters at 
Scituate, Mass., up to 100,000 
watts, making it the world’s most 
powerful short-wave station. 

Before the war the ^120,000 a 
year it costs WRUL to operate was 
partly met by contributions[from its 
world-wide audience. That source 
of revenue has virtually disap¬ 
peared. The Dutch and Norwegian 
governments-in-exile help pay for 
broadcasts in their languages. The 
Rockefeller Foundation, the Alfred 
Sloan Foundation have contrib¬ 
uted; but Lemmon still has to dig 
in his own pocket, as before, for the 
balance. 

Sometimes gifts come unexpect¬ 
edly. A New York woman visited 
the studio. When she got home she 



44 


THE reader's digest 


sent a check for $500. The spirit of 
WRUL’s staff had impressed her. 
Some work for nothing, the rest 
for less than they could get else¬ 
where, Typical is a member of the 
French faculty at Harvard; he had 
helped generously through the 


scholastic year, and then worked 
this summer through his whole va¬ 
cation, preparing French broad¬ 
casts all day, every day, for no 
salary. 

“We’ve all got the bug,” said 
one of the staff. 




P' Tiik butler had announced dinner 
five times, but the guests persisted in 
prererting cocktails and chatter. At his 
sixth attempt, Frank Condon took over 
for liim. “Dinner is served again, 
McKldom,” he bellowed in an auction¬ 
eer’s voice. “Do you wish it sent to the 
British Museum or the Smithsonian 

Institution — Contributed by Hugh Wiley 

^ A I loLLYWooD writer with a reputa¬ 
tion as a Lothario tried to refuse when 
a witty hostess invited him to a charity 
affair, pleading that he was working on 
something important. 

“Oh, in that case just bring your 
work with you,” the lady suggested, 
“We’d love to have her, too.” 

— Contributed by Robert Arthur 

^ A WELL-KNOWN Ncw York hostess 
was saying good-bye at one of her large 
partly to a number of guests, and a 


young man who had crashed the party 
found himself in the line. “Good-bye,” 
he said coolly. “It has been a marvelous 
party.” 

“So glad you liked it,” said the host¬ 
ess cordially. “Remind me to ask you 

next time. ’ — Contributed by Mona Gardner 

^ One of the godfathers at a flolly- 
wood christening party became nervous 
just before the ceremony began. “What 
if they give me the baby to hold?” he 
asked. 

“Don’t worry,” Walter Pidgeon told 
him soothingly. “Same grip as a cock¬ 
tail shaker.” — Contributed by Mona Ganiner 

^ There was no avoiding it: the host¬ 
ess was going to sing. The new guest 
looked at his host in surprise. “I didn’t 
know your wife sang,” he said. 

The host settled himself deeper into 
his chair for the ordeal. 

“Never heard her before?” he 
grunted. “Then you’ve got a great deal 
to look backward to.” 

— Contributed by Norman Stanley Bortoer 




€i Adding 5000 workers a month to federal payrolls, 
and swarming with officers, job-seekers, tourists and 
defense specialists, Washington is a city of confusion 

U. S. Boom Town Number One 

Condensed from The American Mercury 
Donald Wilhelm 


N ever before was Washing¬ 
ton such a spectacle, not 
even in the previous World 
War. Hotel clerks smile supercili¬ 
ously when you ask for a room. If 
you’re an old customer, they will 
phone all over town for you and 
finally get you a bed in some place 
which, if you weren’t so grateful by 
that time to find anything at all, 
you’d call a flophouse. Many a 
businessman flies back to New 
York for the night, flies down again 
next morning. 

The beautiful Union Station 
doesn’t look so ridiculously over¬ 
sized any more, with 75,000 passen¬ 
gers a day moving across its great 
concourse. The airport is busier 
than any in the United States ex¬ 
cept New York’s. It handles 65,000 
pa.ssengers a month in 182 sched¬ 
uled daily flights, and many of 
these are flights of four to six sec¬ 
tions, which is aviation lingo for 
extra planes. 

In the slow-moving traffic jam of 
the streets, you have plenty of time 
to note the diversity of license 
'^plates; 15,000 tourists a day drive 
in to see the show, or look for jobs, 
or honeymoon — and this doesn’t 


count Virginians or Marylanders. 

These things the visitor notices, 
amid Washington’s special brand 
of steamy heat. But the city’s 
w'orkers, stirred though they are 
with a patriotism that is strikingly 
apparent, see less pleasant facts. 
The government employes are 
crowded and uncomfortable both 
in their offices and in their living 
quarters, working long hours with 
no overtime pay, worried over the 
impact of rising rents and the rising 
cost of living on their average 
$1500 salaries. 

There are 240,000 men and 
women on the public payroll in 
Washington now and this is in¬ 
creasing at the rate of 5000 a 
month. Some 20,000 officers of the 
Army and Navy are on duty here 
but you don’t notice them for they 
aren’t in uniform. 

The government has taken over 
more than 200 mansions, hotels 
and apartment houses for office 
space. It is a bit startling to find 
an official with whom you have 
business sitting amid the shiny 
tiles of what last week was ob¬ 
viously a bathroom. Sometimes 
the fixtures have been decently 


Copyright ig4r, The American Mercury, Inc., $70 Lexington Ave., N. T. C. 
(The American Mercury, September, *41) 


45 



d6 THE READER S DIGEST September 


boxed in to serve as chairs or 
tables; sometimes not. 

Girls newly come from Iowa 
farms are pecking typewriters in 
mirrored ballrooms. The boss pre¬ 
sides in a silk-walled boudoir, if 
he's lucky. Down in the old 19th 
Street Auditorium, the typists 
work in the boxes and balconies. 
The filing cabinets are backed up 
against the organ pipes. 

Washingtonians took eviction 
from their dwellings meekly until 
the government served notice on 
the 346 occupants of the new and 
rather snooty Dup>ont Circle Apart¬ 
ments to clear out. About 100, pro¬ 
tected by leases, refused to move 
and are sticking it out, though the 
carpets have been stripped from 
the lobby, and the clack of adding 
machines insistently leaks through 
the walls of their beleaguered 
strongholds. Bearded Congressman 
Tinkham, surrounded by rooms 
full of art and other lifetime ac¬ 
cumulations, is still holding out in 
what used to be the Arlington 
Hotel. 

The War Department, with 24,- 
000 personnel that will be 30,000 
by the time you read this, is packed 
into 17 different buildings at enor¬ 
mous cost in lost motion. There is a 
breath-taking scheme to remedy 
that by erecting the biggest build¬ 
ing in the world at the Virginia end 
of the Memorial Bridge across the 
Potomac — 4,000,000 feet of floor 
g>ace, four times the area of the 
i^partment of Commerce Building 


that covers three city blocks and 
was called “Hoover's Roily." Since 
it will cost a mere $35,000,000, 
Congress will probably authorize it. 

For all their discomfort and ap¬ 
prehensions, the government folk 
recoil from the idea of living any¬ 
where else. The Home Owners 
Loan Corporation is moving its 
1200 people to New York, and you 
should hear the anguished com¬ 
plaints. Recently the Bureau of the 
Budget questioned every depart¬ 
ment closely a*s to the possibility of 
moving all or part of its personnel 
out of Washington. What actual 
transfers will come of that is any¬ 
one's guess, but it had immediate 
effects. Bureau chiefs are now be¬ 
stirring themselves with comic 
alacrity to see if, after all, they 
can't find more desk space right 
where they are. The Department 
of Justice, for example, found 20,- 
000 square feet — room for 200 
new employes — by such expedi¬ 
ents as shoving Thurman Arnold's 
law library out into a corridor. The 
inquiry, also, revealed that one 
quarter of the government's vast 
floor space is being used for files 
and dead storage. 

Washington is Paper Town. Ev¬ 
erything is recorded in duplicate, 
triplicate — one agency m^es 10 
copies of everything. And not a 
scrap of paper can be destroyed 
without autnorization of that fd^ -... 
mous committee of Congress on 
the Disposition of Executive Pa¬ 
pers. Accumulated carbon copies of 



U. S. BOOM TOWN NUMBER ONE 


47 


1941 

long-forgotten letters and docu¬ 
ments, tightly packed in filing 
cabinets, cover 114 acres—desk 
space for 50,000 workers. 

A law signed a year ago permits 
the use of microfilm for keeping 
records. A few of the more alert 
offices adopted the method. The 
Civil Service Commission, clearing¬ 
house for nearly all government 
jobs, filmed 2,500,000 records last 
year. The Baltimore office of the 
Social Security Board films 250,000 
records a day. Savings in file space 
are as high as 98 percent. 

Decentralizing sounds like a bright 
idea until you begin to look into it. 
The Social Security Board moved 
some 500 of its 4500 employes to 
Baltimore, and isn’t happy about 
its experience. After all, every 
agency has numerous relationships 
with others and it is awkward and 
inefficient to maintain them from a 
distance. 

Moreover, economies are problem¬ 
atical. It develops that it would 
cost a million dollars to remove the 
Interstate Commerce Commission 
to Chicago. For a million dollars, 
you can still put a lot of office space 
under roof in Washington, and not 
upset the lives of thousands of 
families. 

Housing is as scarce as office 
space. Washington has, in a decade, 
more than doubled in population. 
Tt-had 700,cxx) residents in 1940, 
and had spilled another 300,000 
across District lines into its sub¬ 
urbs. It is a long walk now between 


'‘For Rent” signs, and rents have 
risen to the highest level of any 
American city. “It is always a 
shock to the newcomer to find that 
a one-room kitchenette and bath 
apartment costs as much to rent as 
a whole house in the state from 
which he came,” the Civil Service 
Commission drily remarked in an 
official paper. 

Still, the job-seckers swarm in. 
When file clerks are wanted, police 
have to be called to create orderly 
queues in the streets outside the 
Civil Service Commission. Some of 
these hopefuls help fill the great 
1000-car government automobile 
camp in East Potomac Park; but 
no one can stay there more than 
two weeks. Private auto camps up 
and down U. S. No. i for 50 miles 
are packed. Many workers com¬ 
mute from Baltimore. Some are 
living in houseboats on the Potomac. 

The government is about to 
build dormitories for women, as it 
did during the last war, and proba¬ 
bly will have to build for men, too. 
Incidentally, since Uncle Sam be¬ 
gan bringing boys and girls to¬ 
gether from every state in the 
Union, the rise in the marriage rate 
in Washington is startling. 

Of all the cities hit by the de¬ 
fense boom, Washington was per¬ 
haps the least ready to cope with 
the problems entailed. The tele¬ 
phone company is struggling fairly 
successfully with its almost im¬ 
possible task. Washington instead 
of Stockholm now has more phones 



THE READER'S DIGEST 


48 

per capita than any other city in 
the world. There are 1,800,000 local 
calls a day — 400,000 more than a 
year ago. There are 44,000 long¬ 
distance calls a day, an increase of 
57 percent over last year, and 
Washington is the greatest user in 
the world of the overseas phone. 
Telegrams in and out of Washing¬ 
ton have more than doubled in 
number. Columbia has trebled the 
staff of its radio station; the five 
other stations have done about the 
same. 

Other services aren’t rising to 
the emergency so well. Educators 
do not like even to imagine what 
the school situation will be this 
fall. Hospitals are overcrowded and 
are ejecting chronic sufferers to 
make beds available for other pa¬ 
tients. Many physicians and den¬ 
tists announce that they cannot 
serve newcomers; their established 
practice is already too large. 

The capital has been shocked by 
a series of crimes, including attacks 
on women. Inevitably, the boom 
has attracted thousands of floaters 
to the city, and the great growth in 
population has spread the police 
department very thin. Anyway, 
the police department has been 
politics-ridden, unprogressive, slov¬ 
enly, thoroughly accustomed to 
doing “favors” for Congressmen 
and Senators whose friends or ap¬ 
pointees got caught in jams. In the 


home town of the FBI, few Wash¬ 
ington cops had ever attended its 
school for policemen. 

Scat of the national government, 
America’s show place, spared the 
corruption and misrule of a local 
political ring, Washington should 
in theory have a model municipal 
administration. It hasn’t. Its citi¬ 
zens have no vote, even on local 
affairs. It is run by Congress, oper¬ 
ating through three commissioners. 
One of these must be an army en¬ 
gineer; the others are presidential 
appointees —just now, two former 
newspapermen. 

Assignment to the District Af¬ 
fairs Committee is eagerly avoided 
by Congressmen. The job takes a 
lot of time and hard work, and 
gets you no credit with the folks 
back home in Pea Hollow. The In¬ 
diana Congressman who recently 
sounded off loudest about the de¬ 
fects of the District police simulta¬ 
neously announced he was resigning 
from the committee. He could no 
longer, he said, neglect the affairs 
of his own const!tuenev to do Dis- 
trict chores. 

In the shadow of the Capitol 
dome, Washington civic affairs pro¬ 
vide a striking demonstration of 
what “taxation without represen¬ 
tation” and government ^instead 
of by the people means at a time 
when half the world is fighting those 
very things. 





A plea for less artificial feminine faces 


Girlsj Take Off Those Masks! 

Condensed from Vogue 
Paul Gallico 


H I, girls! Remember me? 
That man who sticks his 
neck out every so often to 
put you right about your clothes 
and hats so you can continue to 
attract us? Tm back again with a 
complaint. 

This time it’s about your faces. 
By and large they look as though 
you had been going to a subway 
builder and getting them poured I'n 
concrete. Wherever 1 go I see hard¬ 
ness overlaying your sweet features 
like shellac, corners of mouths 
turned down in discontent, faces 
taut with bitterness or sophistica¬ 
tion. For what? You don’t think it 
cheers us guys up, do you? It used 
to be fun to stroll down the Avenue 
and watch you, but not since you’ve 
acquired those 1941 panzer fagades. 

You know what I’m driving at — 
dress by Hattie Carnegie, com¬ 
plexion by Liz Arden, and expres¬ 
sion by the Baldwin Locomotive 
Works. You apparently think that 
we can't recognize beautiful eyes 
unless they have lampblack on the 
upper lids, axle grease underneath, 
and soot on the lashes. If you could 
get compassion and tenderness out 
of that black stuff you rub on with 
a sawed-off toothbrush, I’d be all 


for it. That’s what your lovely eyes 
were made for, to make our hearts 
beat faster, to make us feel warm 
and melting and alive. 

Another thing — it beats me 
what you do with your mouths. 
My angels, your mouth is one of the 
most stirring things you’ve got. In 
a reasonably natural state it is a 
standing invitation to a guy to lose 
his head, his heart, his freedom, and 
his pocketbook. Even contemplat¬ 
ing the kissing of fresh, clean, firm 
female lips is more fun than 18 
holes of golf, or sampling a juicy 
sirloin, or beating the stock market. 

And what do you do? You louse 
up its lines so a guy can’t measure 
where it begins and ends, or follow 
its sweet and wonderful contours 
in anticipation, and you bury it 
under a gooey paste the color of 
overripe tomatoes, red lead, or that 
nasty blackish stuff which makes 
a girl look as though just before she 
had gone out her old man had let 
her have it with a blueberry pie. 

Do you think it is appetizing to 
dine with you, when, by the time 
the consomm6 arrives, the glass¬ 
ware and table linen remind us of 
“Calling Dr. Brent, surgery. Call¬ 
ing Dr. Brent, surgery”? And did 


Copyright 3 ‘hg Condi Nast Publications^ Jnc.^ Greenwich^ Conn. 

iVoguo, July IS, '41) 


49 



THE reader's digest 


50 

you know that when you eat the 
stuff comes off and gives you a little 
crimson mustache where no mus¬ 
tache ever grows, between the lower 
lip and the chin ? Well, it does. And 
I’m tired of it. 

1 like make-up if it is done with 
an eye to features and coloring and 
sanitation. A well-made-up face is a 
joy to behold and a pleasure to 
taste. The thing that bothers me 
is the petulant, dissatisfied, too 
tight, too small, hard and bitter 
expression of your mouths — so 
like the faces painted on the dum¬ 
mies in the shopwindows, which, 
when they are not gotten up to re¬ 
semble corpses or vampires, are so 
tired and bored and ultra, and un¬ 
happy. What I miss on your per¬ 
fectly groomed, completely ex¬ 
pressionless pans is what comes 
from within: freshness, sympathy, 
humor, understanding. 

I’m tired of hearing that you 
don’t dress or make up for men, but 
for other women. Then why don’t 
you ever show a little graciousness 
when another woman has done a 
good job? Why do you stare at 
other girls with that cold, bitter, 
appraising look? Did you ever try 
smiling at that girl at the next 
table, or on the street, to show that 
you appreciate how she looks? 
Chrnces are she will smile back, 
and two hearts will be warmed 


where there was only coldness be¬ 
fore. That warmth coming through 
will do more for your faces than any¬ 
thing you can squeeze out of a tube. 

You’re going to have to do some¬ 
thing about those complicated coif¬ 
fures, too. If your hair’s long, put 
it up so that it will stay up. And if 
it’s short, do it simply, then leave 
it alone so that you don’t have to 
comb it into the cocktail of your 
gentleman friend. There is nothing 
quite so depressing as to see one of 
you beloved, lambs hauling out 

vour boudoir kits at the dinner 
¥ 

table or in the theater and com¬ 
mencing to hoe your scalp. 

It is high time that some of you 
public combers realized that the 
languorous movement of a woman 
running a rake through her tresses 
is one of the sweeter enchantments 
of the bedroom. It ought to be kept 
there. Performing it in public 
makes just one less reason why a 
guy would want to know you better. 

Speaking as a gent who has been 
around for a considerable time and 
can see the storm clouds gathering, 

I would swap you all the sophisti¬ 
cation you can buy for one touch of 
daintiness, for a cheerful expression 
on your faces. Ultra-smartness and 
hard, sour pusses are getting to be 
a bit of a bore. Cheer up, girls. 
Loosen up a little. Give us a chance 
to see how lovely you really are. 



4 L The magical substances which play a 
vital role in normal health and growth 


The Body''s Mysterious Chemicals 

Condensed from The New Republic 
Bruce Bliven 

Editor and president of The New Republic 


T hree mysterious substances, 
in minute quantities, control 
the chemistry of the Human 
body. They were completely un¬ 
known only a few years ago, and 
some of the most important facts 
about them have been unearthed 
only within recent months. These 
substances are the hormones, those 
powerful chemicals secreted in the 
body by the endocrine glands; the 
enzymes, which turn one chemical 
substance into another; and the 
vitamins. These magic chemicals 
maintain an extraordinary balance 
among forces so powerful that any 
of them could be destructive if 
unchecked. 

Let me list some of the miracu¬ 
lous ways in which man’s internal 
chemical organization operates. The 
blood is mildly alkaline; a slight 
shift to acidity would produce coma 
and death; a slight shift to greater 
alkalinity would mean convulsions. 
Again, the degree of sugar in the 
blood is extremely exact. If there 
were less you would have convul¬ 
sions and coma; if more, the results 
would be equally serious. Nature 
has therefore provided a safety 
valve through which excess sugar 


One of a series of articles on 
‘*Men Who Make the Fu¬ 
ture/* based on interviews 
with research experts. 


is withdrawn promptly by means 
of the kidneys. In violent exercise 
the muscles create poisonous acids, 
and the blood sugar is depleted; 
yet athletes do not have coma or 
convulsions. They pant and their 
heart beat is increased, providing 
extra oxygen to carry off the acid 
waste. Surplus starch stored in the 
liver is turned into sugar and 
restores the normal level in the 
blood. 

Scattered through the body are 
seven small glands or pairs of 
glands, called “endocrine” because 
they secrete, internally, specific chem¬ 
icals — hormones — which pass di¬ 
rectly into the blood stream and 
thence are distributed through the 
body. Some of these chemicals go 
from one endocrine gland to an¬ 
other and set off new hormones. 
Together they create for the whole 
organism the system of checks and 
balances mentioned above. Note 
what happens when any of these 


Copyright 1^411 Editorial PuMieations, Inc., 40 E. 4^ St.» N. T, C. 

{The New Republic^ August /8, *4/) jr 



52 

secretions goes wrong, as to either 
excess or insufficiency. 

Did you ever see a hopeless 
idiot? The difference between you 
and this common type of subnormal 
being, with head lolling, eyes un¬ 
focused, tongue extended, is about 
a thousandth of an ounce of thy¬ 
roxin, the secretion of the thyroid 
gland in your throat. 

Some babies, born with a thyroid 
which is unable to create the neces¬ 
sary minute quantity of thyroxin, 
exhibit in varying degree the out¬ 
ward signs of idiocy. But if in early 
infancy they are fed thyroxin or 
the dried thyroid gland extracted 
from animals, they become vigor¬ 
ous and intelligent. This improve¬ 
ment is maintained as long as 
treatments continue; but withhold 
the thyroxin for a few weeks and 
a tragic relapse takes place. 

Iodine, the most important in¬ 
gredient in thyroxin, is found widely 
scattered through the world. It is 
lacking, however, in certain areas. 
The thyroid glands of people living 
in these areas work harder to take 
advantage of such iodine as exists. 
They may work so hard that they 
increase their “conversion plants’* 
into the form of disfiguring goiters. 
If iodine is added to drinking water 
in these areas, or if iodized table 
salt is used, goiter and other types 

oi tan \>e 

avoided. 

Another gland which possesses 
magic powers is the pituitary, situ¬ 
ated deep within the skull. The 

sfSfV 


September 

pituitary controls growth: with too 
little of one or more 0{ its secre¬ 
tions the individual is a dwarf; with 
too much he is a giant. 

Another function of the pituitary 
is its role as the “mother love” 
gland. When the female has pro¬ 
duced her offspring there is an 
increase in the secretion of a pitui¬ 
tary hormone which helps to pro¬ 
duce the mother’s devotion to the 
infant, causing her to sacrifice her 
own interests, even her life if neces¬ 
sary, to protect her baby. This has 
been shown by numerous experi¬ 
ments, such as those of Dr. Oscar 
Riddle of the Carnegie Institution 
Genetics Laboratory, in which the 
pituitary secretion has been artifi¬ 
cially administered in abnormally 
large amounts. Under this excessive 
stimulus a chicken not yet old 
enough to lay eggs will manifest 
all the characteristics of a broody 
hen. So will a hen long past her 
chick-raising period. Even males 
injected with the hormone show 
the same characteristics. A pitui¬ 
tary hormone has been isolated 
which has been used to increase the 
milk supply of nursing mothers. 

Among the most important hor¬ 
mones are those connected with 
sex. It is not true, as was at first 
supposed, that the male secretes 
only male hormones, the female 
on\y iiexnale \iormones. Male an^ 
female hormones are secreted by 
every individual. In the normaT 
male the masculine secretions pre¬ 
dominate; in the normal female, the 


THE reader’s digest 



THE body's mysterious CHEMICALS 


53 


feminine ones. Deviation from nor¬ 
mal male or female characteristics, 
as when a man is effeminate or a 
woman masculine, probably results 
from an excessive secretion of the 
opposite sex hormones. 

Recent as is our knowledge of 
the hormones, they are already be¬ 
ing used in practical ways. I have 
mentioned the rebuilding of per¬ 
sonality through thyroxin. Adrena¬ 
lin, from the adrenal glands, is in 
wide use as a powerful heart stimu¬ 
lant. Estrone, one of the female sex 
hormones, is injected to relieve the 
mental and j)hysical symptoms which 
occur in women with the meno¬ 
pause. Testosterone, a male sex 
hormone, is similarly used to relieve 
enlargement of the prostate gland. 

Women suffering from functional 
disturbances of the reproductive 
system have been greatly helped by 
intravenous injections of the male 
testosterone. Apparently these con¬ 
ditions are associated with an ex¬ 
cess of female sex hormones which 
can be counterbalanced by injec¬ 
tions of the male secretion. 

There appears to be a parallel 
case among men, regarding cancer 
of the prostate gland. This is some¬ 
times relieved, though not cured, 
by injections of the female sex hor¬ 
mone, theelin. Scientists believe that 
tbe cancer may be associated witb 
overactivity of the male sex ele¬ 
ment, and that this is cut down by 
artificial addition of the female 
hormone. 

The secretions of the glands, 


especially the pituitary, seem to 
control the profound rhythms of 
human and animal behavior, rhythms 
which vary with the seasons and 
with age. VVhen the poet wrote, “In 
the spring a young man’s fancy 
lightly turns to thoughts of love,” 
this was just another way of saying, 
“In the spring one of the pituitary 
secretions, gonadotropin, increases, 
thereby influencing the secretion of 
testosterone and other sex hor¬ 
mones.” When life’s time clock tells 
us, around the age of 50, that the 
mating period is coming to a close, 
it does so by altering the ratio of 
some of these endocrine secretions. 

We come now to the enzymes. 
Although their effects have long 
been known, the enzymes them¬ 
selves were discovered only re¬ 
cently. More than 200 have ah ead v 
^ » 

been identified and seven have been 
isolated in crystalline form. The 
enzymes act on one chemical to 
turn it into another without them¬ 
selves being altered in the process. 
In the human body they take food 
and turn it into the exact chemicals 
required for the maintenance of the 
organism, in the exact amounts 
needed; the body, with uncanny 
precision, discards any surplus. 

One of the mysteries of nature is 
what it is that activates an enzyme 
that does not exist in its chemica\ 
constituents separately. For exam¬ 
ple, there is an enzyme called tryp¬ 
sin, which helps in the process of 
digestion. Trypsin is formed from 
another chemical substance which 



54 


THE READER S DIGEST 


is inert, possessing none of the 
digestive power. Place some of this 
substance in a test tube and intro¬ 
duce even the minutest amount of 
actual trypsin and the latter will 
little by little “digest” the entire 
contents of the test tube into a 
replica of itself. 

'Die third of the body chemicals 
is the vitamins, at least 15 of which 
we recpiire in our food. Deficiency 
of one or another causes a long list 
(jf diseases and disorders, including 
baldness, premature gray hair, gas¬ 
trointestinal disturbances, scurvy, 
rickets, acute mental depression, 
hemorrhages, some forms of paral}^- 
sis, neuritis and pellagra. 

It is just coming into the con¬ 
sciousness of the research experts 
that hormones, enzymes and vita¬ 
mins arc tied together in a close 
relationship. For example, hormones 
and vitamins are similar in the 
effects that deficiency of some of 
them may cause. Depressed mental 
states are brought about by insuffi¬ 
ciency of thiamin (Vitamin Bi) and 
nicotinic acid, and also by inade¬ 
quate functioning of the endocrine 
glands. There are a number of 
diseased states which could be caused 
by the malfunctioning of hormones 
or vitamin insufficiency, or both. 

The vitamin which in laboratory 
experiments has restored gray hair 
to black ^eems to be identical with 


a chemical which also acts as an 
enzyme in the growth processes of 
bacteria. And several of the “respir¬ 
atory enzymes,” which help us to 
derive energy from the intake of 
oxygen, contain one or another of 
the three important vitamins; thia¬ 
min, riboflavin and nicotinic acid. 

One hopeful inquiry has to do 
with the theory that some types of 
cancer may result from the lack of 
certain vitamins, or an inability of 
the body to handle them properly. 
The way in which cancerous tissue 
utilizes oxygen is markedly differ¬ 
ent from that of normal tissue, and 
since some vitamins play a leading 
part in the way the cells use oxygen 
a bridge may some day be estab¬ 
lished here. 

It seems certain that science is 
on the brink of far-reaching dis¬ 
coveries among hormones, enzymes 
and vitamins - discoveries which 
may take us into a new world of 
scientific knowledge and of physical 
and mental health. When we have 
filled in the remaining gaps in our 
knowledge, these mysterious agents 
of growth ought to solve the mys¬ 
tery of how the cells multiply. If 
they do we can probably put an 
end to the menace of cancer and 
other diseases involving cellular 
structure. And we shall come far 
closer to the heart of the mystery 
of life itself. 




Interested parents and their teaching deuces plajr a large 
part in the ‘‘brilliance” of the young marvels of the air 


As the Quiz Kids JVere Bent 

Condensed from The Kiwanis Magazine 
J. P. McEvoy 


T he “Quiz Kid” radio pro¬ 
gram was turned down by I2 
prospective sponsors. Where, 
they asked, would you find enough 
smart children to put new ones on 
the air week after week? They 
neednT have worried; the supply 
seems unlimited. And the investi¬ 
gators who select these unusual 
youngsters for radio competition 
have been impressed by the ap¬ 
pearance in every case of one fac¬ 
tor: back of every unusually bright 
child you always find an unusually 
interested grownup who has made 
it his or her job to encourage and 
stimulate the youngster. 

Tl^is is certainly true of the half 
dozen Quiz Kids whose superior 
scores have won them the most re¬ 
peat appearances. Jack Lucal, 14, 
has been on 31 Quiz Kid programs. 
When Jack was two his mother 
started nightly talks with him be¬ 
fore he went to sleep. At first they 
reviewed the day’s happenings. As 
he grew older they discussed fa¬ 
mous persons in history or some¬ 
thing one of them had been read- 
inrg, or they exchanged views on 
current events. The family insisted 
that Jack consider both sides of an 


issue, and they subscribed to news¬ 
papers of opposing views. When¬ 
ever he expressed an opinion re¬ 
garding public affairs the family 
took the opposite side, and Jack 
would have to battle it out. 

Jack’s mother and grandmother 
started early to clip from news¬ 
papers and magazines interesting 
and informative items which they 
put on his desk. Family dinner- 
table talk is based on these tidbits. 
Jack’s familiarity with current his¬ 
tory, started by the clipping serv¬ 
ice, has been augmented recently 
by his own collection of headlines 
of events which he believes will go 
down in history. These are all ar¬ 
ranged in scrapbooks on shelves, as 
is his collection of travel bureau 
pamphlets, for Jack’s mother be¬ 
lieves that every child should have 
a place where he can keep his col¬ 
lections in some organized fashion, 
and that parents should encourage 
every interest a child shows. 

Quiz Kid Van Dyke Tiers, 14 
and a popular high school senior, 
started learning geography early 
by playing games with his father. 
“I’ll race you to the Galapagos 
Islands,” the father would chal- 


Copyrigbt /p//, Kiwanis International, 520 N. Michigan Aoe., Chicago, III. 

i^he Kiwanis Magazine, September, '4/) 55 



k 6 the reader S digest September \ 


lenge, and they would tear across 
the room to a big wall map. The 
one who put his finger first on the 
correct spot won. Papa always left 
a jigsaw puzzle of a country or a 
continent lying around so Van 
could put it together and learn 
geography the while. 

“As soon as he was conscious of 
objects I began to point out differ¬ 
ences,” says Papa Tiers. “His high 
chair, I explained, was made of 
wood, and wood came from trees; 
his spoon was made of silver, which 
was dug out of the ground. I told 
how the ore was mined and showed 
him pictures. We would examine 
trees and I would tell him how they 
grew. Then I would pick up rocks 
and teach him to recognize differ¬ 
ent kinds. In this way he learned a 
lot of botany and geology long be¬ 
fore he knew what those words 
meant. He also learned not just to 
look at things but to see them. 
Even at three he was a careful ob¬ 
server. One day I asked him to 
describe a puppy he had seen. He 
said it was brown and white and 
pink. I asked him, ‘Are you sure it 
was partly pink?’ and Van replied, 
‘Yes, on the inside of its mouth.’” 

When he was two and a half he 
had a lesson in mechanics which 
expanded into physiology. His 
father took an alarm clock apart 
and showed Van how it worked. 
Then he pointed out why people 
have to have alarm clocks: they 
don’t get enough sleep. Then he 
mad^. the meaning of the word 


“alarm” clear. Pricking Van with 
a pin he explained th:rt this was 
pain — a beneficial alarm which 
woke you not from sleep but to the 
fact that something was wrong. 

Van went to school at seven and 
was put in the fifth grade. All that 
he knew he had learned at home, 
through conversations with his 
father, listening to discussions at 
the family table, and reading every¬ 
thing he could — he had learned to 
read from newspaper headlines, 
which he followed as his father read 
them aloud. “Any child of normal 
intelligence can learn as much if 
correctly taught,” says Papa Tiers. 

One of the outstanding Quiz Kids 
is 15-year-old Cynthia Cline. “I 
started teaching her when she was 
a baby,” says Mrs. Cline, “ by sing¬ 
ing her to sleep with German and 
French songs. Without realizing it 
she learned entire phrases with the 
proper pronunciation and rhythm. 

“When she was older I read 
poetry to her — Shelley, Keats, 
Chaucer, Burns. I would read a line 
and have Cynthia repeat it. Finally 
she could memorize entire poems, 
thus acquiring a rich vocabulary of 
beautiful words and an apprecia¬ 
tion of poetic expression. Later we 
made up rhyming games to accom¬ 
pany tasks around the house — I 
would start with a sentence and 
she would supply the next one. 

“I didn’t encourage her to read 
too soon because I feel that a child 
with her nose in a book misses too 
much of a child’s normal play.” 



AS THE QUIZ KIDS WERE BENT 


57 


1941 

To teach Cynthia to draw, she 
would herself draw a dog or child 
and let Cynthia copy it, always 
helping and correcting her work, 
never laughing at any effort. Par¬ 
ents often destroy children’s inter¬ 
est in creating things, she thinks, 
by laughing. 

“When she was a baby,” says 
Mrs. Cline, “ her father and I were 
separated, and her responsibilities 
began early.” When she was three 
her mother started a nursery school 
in their home to support them, and 
Cynthia soon began helping her in 
that. Since the age of seven she has 
done a deal of her own darning and 
mending. 

Joan Bishop is the amazing 14- 
year-old musical expert of the pro¬ 
gram. Because she is so gifted her 
mother has been careful to keep her 
from becoming one-sided. Conse¬ 
quently her general information is 
superior to that of most children 
her age. She was early introduced 
to good literature, and to give her 
a background in current affairs 
Mrs. Bishop started her on the 
ponderous five volumes* of The 
World's Greatest Events, bringing 
her from Biblical to recent times. 
She also has been encouraged to 
make good use of the dictionary 
and encyclopedia. But her mother 
thinks that more important to her 
background is “her early habit of 
reading thoroughly two newspapers 
every evening.” 

How she learned to read will be 
a body blow to most educators. 


Sunday mornings she would lie on 
the floor and listen to Quin Ryan 
read the funnies over Station 
WGN, studiously following him 
through the comic supplements 
ookle by ookle and pow by pow. 

When ii-year-old Richard Wil¬ 
liams, the mathematical Quiz Kid, 
was three his grandfather used to 
take him around East Chicago 
visiting his old cronies. This was 
the beginning of Dick’s education, 
for the grandfather taught him to 
play rummy and keep score, and in 
restaurants to add up the checks 
before the waitress could total 
‘*them. Now Dick keeps accurate 
ledgers on all the family trips. 

Since he was three Dick has fol¬ 
lowed the schoolwork of his older 
brother, who gave him sympathetic 
coaching. Dick studied all the maps 
in his brother’s geography, asked 
for more, and has seldom been 
without a map in his pocket. Last 
Christmas the family gave him 
what was supposed to be a com¬ 
plete atlas. Dick found two small 
countries missing; Rand McNally 
admitted the error and gave him 
another atlas. 

Dick’s father is a mechanical 
engineer, and as part of his boys’ 
education he brings engineering 
problems home and asks the boys 
to help him solve them. As a result, 
Dick was doing high school math 
at seven and today sits at his sixth 
grade desk and does geometry 
while the class studies arithmetic. 
The family keeps him in his school 



THE reader's digest 


SS 


age group so that he won’t be too 
much out of it socially. 

Mowing the lawn, weeding the 
garden, cleaning the basement are 
definite chores for both brothers, 
who assist their mother with the 
dishes on alternate nights. “They 
have a small allowance, but we 
don’t pay them for household 
jobs,” she says. “Very early they 
were made to realize that the house 
belongs to them as much as to us.” 

Eight-year-old Gerard Darrow, 
the baby Quiz Kid, learned the 
names (English and Latin), cus¬ 
toms and habits of 365 birds before 
he was four. Gerard’s mother died 
when he was an infant, and his 
Aunt Bessie has devoted every 
waking moment to his develop¬ 
ment. She early started reading 
nature books to him — such pro¬ 
fusely illustrated books as Frank 
G. Ashbrook’s Birds of America^ 
and the card series of the National 


Association of Audubon Societies. 
Later came Butterflies nf America 
and Bugs of America^ both by Lil¬ 
lian Davids Fazzini, and Jane 
Harvey’s Wild Flowers of America. 

In this way he was led from 
birds to insects and thence to rocks, 
shells and fish. He also started to 
collect abandoned birds’ nests, 
fossils, pressed flowers, discarded 
feathers, and the hair of his friends. 

Gerard doesn’t care much for 
school. Wading through mud pud¬ 
dles and falling off his bicycle are 
favorite pastimes. People who 
would tell you that he is a mental 
monster don’t know what an at¬ 
tractively normal child he is, but the 
children in the block could tell you. 

The Quiz Kids’ parents stoutly 
maintain their children are not 
prodigies but the result of patient, 
persistent cooperation at home — 
something all parents can and 
should give their children. 


ustratlve Anecdotes — SO — 

Exasperated by repeated challenges of his 
statement to a House Committee that reasonable progress was being 
made in national defense, William S. Knudsen finally summed up the 
situation thus: “You see, gentlemen, it’s like this. Etespite your mod¬ 
ern hospitals and anesthetics, despite your obstetricians and psychia¬ 
trists, de^spite all your advancements in research, medicine and 
science — it still takes nine months!” 

—Adrien J. Falk in San Francisco Clmtaicle 

C When I was doing Professor Einstein’s bust he 
had many a jibe at the Nazi professors, one hundred of whom had * 
condemned his theory of relativity in a book. “Were I wrong,” he 
said, “one professor would have been enough!” 

—Jacob Epstein, Let There Be Stelpture (Putnam) 



4^ Is it another world war — or a world revolution ? 


fVorld or Nothing 

Condensed from The Atlantic Monthly 
Herbert Agar 


W E CANNOT understand the 
history of our time if we 
think of today’s agony as 
just another stage in “the same 
old war.” A world revolution is 
taking place. The wax' is only an 
incident in the revolution — a sign 
that the more dangerous revolu¬ 
tionary weapons have failed to do 
their full work. These weapons in¬ 
clude threats and bribes, as in the 
I-ow Countries and the Balkans; 
they include economic pressure 
and treason, as in South America; 
they include soft promises of friend¬ 
ship for whatever nations the revo¬ 
lution is not yet prepared to mur¬ 
der; above all they include an 
appeal to the dissatisfactions and 
confusions which infest our world. 

Herbert Agar, editor of the I.ouisville 
Courier-Journaly is recognized as one of the 
most courageous and outspoken of news¬ 
papermen. He won the Pulitzer Prize for 
American history in 1933 with his book 
The People's Choice. Mr. Agar was born in 
New Rochelle, N. Y., and educated at 
Columbia and Princeton — an education 
interrupted by service in the Naval Re¬ 
serve during the World War. For five years 
he was the Courier-Joumars London cor¬ 
respondent; for five more he wrote the 
syndicated newspaper column “Time and 
Tide." Among his recent books are Land of 
the Free and Pursuit of Happiness. 


I'he roots of the revolution are 
in the cynicism and despair which 
for years have been spreading across 
the world. It is not a revolution in 
the name of a great new cause, 
which may be expected to settle 
down into something tolerable after 
the violent phase is ended. This is 
a revolution against great causes, 
as its origins imply. It is a revolu¬ 
tion which says there is no lav/ of 
God or man which holds in this 
brave new world. Power alone is to 
be worshiped; there is nothing 
which may not be done in the name 
of mastery. 

The belief that the Axis revolu¬ 
tion can settle down into some¬ 
thing tolerable ignores the simplest 
and the most universal rule of 
history. The rule has been stated 
briefly by Ralph Waldo Emerson: 
“The ends pre-exist in the means.” 
Or as Eduard Lindeman states it, 
“We become what we do.” This 
implies that good ends cannot fol¬ 
low from atrocious means. 

7 'he means which are used to 
promote this revolution are treach¬ 
ery, murder, blackmail, the torture 
and enslavement of the mind as 
well as of the body. The permanent 
institution — the end — which must 


Copyright /pfr, The Atlantic Monthly Co., S Arlington St., Boston, Mass. 
(The Atlantic Monthly, July, '41) 


59 



6o THE reader’s digest September 


result from these means is govern¬ 
ment by the Gestapo. 

It is not clever of Americans to 
think we could “get along all right ” 
in a world run by the Axis. It is 
like saying that a man with his 
own private suite of rooms could 
“get along all right” in a jail or a 
madhouse. 

There is nothing which this revo¬ 
lution of destruction, carried on by 
torture, can build except a world 
combining the worst features of 
prison and asylum. Hitler may 
cheat and deceive all men; but he 
cannot cheat history. He may abol¬ 
ish all other laws; but he cannot 
abolish the law which says that 
“the ends pre-exist in the means.” 

This is the revolution of slavery. 
If we don’t fight back we accept 
destruction, betraying ourselves and 
also our descendants for genera¬ 
tions to come. Some day, some¬ 
where, man will begin again the 
long ascent from slavery — but not 
because of any help we gave him. 
We shall be known forever as the 
men who would not fight the enemy 
while there was still time and who 
therefore handed their world to 
ruin. 

If we turn from morals to eco¬ 
nomics we find fresh proof that this 
revolution is one of destruction 
only. The Axis Powers are not 
creating an economic system; they 
are perfecting a system of making 
war pay for itself. The unemployed 
millions of capitalism’s shame are 
turned into soldiers and munition 


makers. I'hen comes a period of 
“guns instead of butter.” When the 
supply of guns is sufficient, the 
soldiers and their guns are sent 
abroad to steal the butter. Berlin 
now boasts it has a higher butter 
ration than London; but the butter 
is stolen from the nations whose 
corpses ring the frontiers of the 
Third Reich. 

This is not an economic system, 
because it is a system that can only 
work by continual expansion. A na¬ 
tion which exports soldiers instead 
of goods and services, a nation 
whose imports are gained by plun¬ 
der rather than by exchange, can 
set no limits to its conquests. It 
must expand or die. Physically as 
well as morally, this revolution 
of nihilism lives on death. The min¬ 
ute it cannot steal new food, new 
fuel, new slaves — at that minute 
it collapses. This is why Austria 
was not enough (though Hitler 
promised it was enough); this is 
why the Sudetenland was not 
enough (although Hitler swore it 
was his last ambition); this is why 
Poland was not enough, nor all the 
little democracies of the North, 
nor France, nor blackmailed Bul¬ 
garia, nor treason-killed Rumania, 
nor war-killed Greece and Yugo¬ 
slavia. This is why the British Em¬ 
pire will not be enough, nor the 
Ukraine, nor Turkey. 

South America cannot be enough, 
either. This revolution is a disease. 
It is the Black Death of civiliza¬ 
tion. If it is not halted it must 



WORLD OR NOTHING 


6t 


1941 

Spread and spread so long as there 
is still a healthy body to infect. To 
be sure, as our appeasers say, the 
disease must some day run its course 
— but not until the patient is dead. 
The “new order” of slavery may 
last a thousand years, as Hitler 
hopes. And the essential point is 
that because of its moral and its 
economic nature the Axis revolu¬ 
tion cannot stop. 

It is ironic that there should be 
Americans who assume that the 
revolution will stop short of our 
shores. For not only is it incapable 
of stopping short anywhere until 
it has conquered the world or been 
conquered by the world, but we in’ 
America are its natural enemies. 
We are rich, and the revolution 
lives on plunder. We still hold in 
our hearts the great tradition of 
freedom, and the revolution depends 
on the spread of slavery. The lead¬ 
ers of the revolution hate us as no 
enemies have ever hated us before. 
I'hey despise us as only envy can 
teach men to despise. So as far as 
we .stand for anything we stand for 
the eternal opposite of their world. 

It will be a sad day for the Americas 

• 

if we let them control the Atlantic 
Ocean. And control it they will if 
we let the British Empire follow 
the French Empire into their 
greedy hands. 

Even so brief a review of the 
nature of this revolution may help 
to answer the arguments of those 
who still urge that we make terms 
with the enemy, who still argue 


about whether to “stay out” of 
the war. Nobody can stay out of a 
world revolution. The revolution 
can be resisted or accepted; it can¬ 
not be ignored. With her usual 
calmness and good taste, Anne 
Lindbergh asks, “Should we not 
approach our objective more nearly 
by putting the strength of our in¬ 
fluence behind an undefeated Eng¬ 
land for a negotiated peace than 
by pushing a hard-pressed empire 
still farther down the path to ruin?” 

The question could only be raised 
by someone who thinks of this war 
in terms of a contest for Alsace- 
Lorraine, or the Cameroons. How 
can we negotiate a “peace” with 
people who conquer by torture and 
terrorism and by the destruction of 
man’s chance to use his mind or to 
possess morals? 

The Nazis are not reforming 
capitalist democracy; they are mur¬ 
dering it. They are not substitut¬ 
ing a new and vital philosophy; 
they are substituting plunder and 
slavery. Their revolution affirms 
as the rule of life “war itself in its 
most primitive form.” We shall die 
if we- try to negotiate with this 
gospel of doom. We shall live if we 
still have faith in man, without 
which we can have no faith in 
America. 

“Something has come to an end,’* 
wrote Hitler. He thinks that the 
“something” which has ended is 
the brief period of modern democ¬ 
racy, beginning with the invention 
of the steam engine and ending with 



62 


THE reader’s digest 


the invention of the dive bomber. 
He thinks that modern technology, 
plus the decline of faith in our civ¬ 
ilization, has made it possible for a 
fev/ ambitious leaders to return the 
plain man to his traditional place 
as a slave. 

Hitler may be right. But there is 
another answer; the “something” 
which has come to an end may be 
not the period when men are so 
foolish as to strive for democracy 
but the period when men are so 
slack as to betray it. Democracy 
as a cheap and boastful creed that 
demands no sacrifice is dead. Hitler 
has murdered it. But democracy 
as a code of conduct, as the struggle 


to make institutions which bring 
man nearer to his ancient need for 
“equal rights and no special privi¬ 
leges,” is not necessarily dead. 

Man everywhere is waiting for a 
sign that those who believe in free¬ 
dom are willing to stand together 
against those who affirm slavery. 
The revolution is winning because 
that sign has not been given. Man 
wants a second chance to make 
freedom work, to serve the cause of 
decency. No people but ourselves 
can supply that chance. It cannot 
be done by bargaining with the 
Caesars who despise us. It can be 
done by beating the Caesars while 
we still have friends to help us. 




The Pace That Saves 

“Oh, i.ook at those poor lions pacing up and down and longing to 
get out!” visitors at my zoo have often exclaimed. 

I’he truth is that the lions were being induced, through hunger, to 
take the exercise that is almost as necessary for their health as food and 
water. A wild lion kills his dinner, eats about 6o pounds and retires for 
12 hours’ sleep, returns for another really good tuck-in and then fasts 
for 24 to 48 hours. 

If lions were fed like that in captivity they would spend most of 
their lime asleep in a corner of the den. Tiie secret of keeping the big 
cats in condition is to feed them enough to satisfy them for 20 hours. 
Then, feeling hungry, they begin to hunt the next meal and in a cage, 
of course, can only walk for the four-hour intei-val before their next 

meal. — sir Garrard Tyrwhitt>Drake, My Ufe with Animalt (Blackie) 


The Lone Star State Stands By 

C A DRAFT BOARD official in Texas was asked: “What do you 
think of the chances of our getting into the war?” 

“I can assure you,” he replied, “that if the United States 
gets into the war, Texas will get in too.” 

■ — Contributed by Sally liollowcll 



C Helena Rubinstein combines shrewdness mth a show¬ 
man’s talents to make her name known the world over 

Princess of the Beauty Business 

Condensed from Life 
Elaine Brown Keiffer 


B eauty is a commodity. It 
comes in jars, tubes and 
bottles. It claims among its 
customers perhaps 75 percent of 
U. S. women, is one of our 20 largest 
industries. In this business Helena 
Rubinstein started as a girl of 18 
and through it has become perhaps 
the world’s most successful busi¬ 
nesswoman. 

Rubinstein (in private life Prin¬ 
cess Gourielli-Tchkonia, wife of a 
Georgian nobleman) was one of 
eight daughters of a moderately 
well-to-do family in Krakow, Po¬ 
land. Her career, however, began 
in Melbourne, Australia. While 
visiting relatives there she noticed 
how the faces of Australian women, 
dried and roughened by the climate, 
contrasted with her own creamy 
complexion. Exercising for the first 
time her uncanny talent for sniffing 
a profit, Rubinstein sent to Krakow 
for a shipment of face cream, and 
opened a shop. In a year and a half 
she left Australia with $100,000 
capital to launch her business in 
Europe. 

During the succeeding 43 years 
Rubinstein has made, according to 
her own estimate, $25,000,000 — 


all from the sale of creams and lo¬ 
tions at fancy prices across the 
counters of stores. The Rubinstein 
salons in New York and a dozen 
other cities including Paris, Milan 
and Buenos Aires all lose money 
but exist to promote the Rubin¬ 
stein line and assure its standing in 
the topmost bracket of a snobbish 
industry. 

Her Fifth Avenue s.alon is a 
super-repair shop for feminine faces 
and bodies. Here ladies come for 
a Rubinstein “Day of Beauty.” 
They are stretched, exercised, rubbed, 
scrubbed, wrapped in hot blankets, 
bathed in infrared rays, massaged 
dry and massaged under water, and 
bathed in milk — all before lunch. 
After a meal of raw things, they get 
a face treatment, foot masque, wax 
finger-tip mas<jue, scalp treatment, 
shampoo and coiffure. The whole 
thing costs $25. 

Among these leisured ladies under 
repair, Helena Rubinstein moves 
with a superior air and now and 
again a faint chuckle. She has 
neither time nor desire for such 
strenuous beautification herself. 
Her only personal beauty practice 
is to lunch daily on a health diet of 


Copyright 1041 ^ Time Ine.^ Time 6? Uje BUg.^ Rockefeller Center^ N. T. C. 

{Life, July 2r, '41) 


63 



6^ THE READER S DIGEST iseptember 


leeks, kale, kohlrabi and the like, 
from which she gets up hungry. 

Rubinstein holds her position at 
the top by hard work, showman¬ 
ship and money shrewdness. She 
has an innate talent for finance on 
a grand scale, as the Wall Street 
firm of Lehman Bros, found out 
with painful surprise when she out¬ 
smarted them. In the rosy days of 
1928 the Lehman partners con¬ 
ceived the idea of turning Rubin¬ 
stein’s business into a low-price, 
mass-production line. It was not 
her idea but Madame finally agreed 
and sold the Lehmans two thirds of 
the (J. S. business for 300,000 
cash. She sat by for a year watching 
two successive managers “selling 
my creams in grocery stores,” as 
she piteously puts it. Then she went 
to the stockholders with the cry 
that the business was being ruined. 
The Lehmans offered her any salary 
if she would go away and leave 
them alone, but Madame had a 
better idea. The market had crashed, 
so she bought back enough Rubin¬ 
stein stock in the open market for 
^1,500,000 to regain control of the 
business, and at the same time 
pocketed a cool ^5,800,000 on the 
deal. By that time the Lehmans 
were glad to be rid of the whole 
business. 

The Rubinstein line now com¬ 
prises 629 items. The best-selling 
cream is still the one Rubinstein 
started with. This used to be called 
Skin Clearing Cream, but in 1938, 
in accordance with a ruling of the 


Food and Drug Administration, 
the name was changed to Wake-Up 
Cream. Her salesgirls sometimes 
tell customers that all 629 items 
are necessary to provide for every 
woman’s particular beauty needs, 
but the real reason for the big line 
is Madame’s determination to keep 
ahead of Elizabeth Arden. 

In the high-price field, Arden is 
Rubinstein’s great competitor. They 
maintain equally swank salons a 
block apart on Fifth Avenue, and 
their products are sold side by side 
on the nation’s beauty counters. 
But for some reason the Arden line 
seems to have a slight edge in pres¬ 
tige, a fact infuriating to Madame. 
Salesgirls report that customers 
often buy Rubinstein preparations 
for themselves but Arden prepara¬ 
tions for gifts. If one gets a new 
idea such as the Day of Beauty 
or sun-tan lotion or photographic 
make-up, the other promptly adopts 
it. I'hey copy packages, borrow ad¬ 
vertising angles. 

For years the two have waged a 
sharp war over personnel. In 1938 
Arden hired away Rubinstein’s gen¬ 
eral manager at a $50,000 salary, 
and took ii of his staff to boot. 
Rubinstein plotted revenge, and 
the following year had the exquisite 
pleasure of announcing that T. J. 
Lewis, former husband and man¬ 
ager of Elizabeth Arden, was the 
new manager of Helena Rubinstein. 

“In ziss bissness you must be 
vairee smaart,” Madame insists in 
her Folishr-French-Australian ac- 



PRINCESS OF THE BEAUTY BUSINESS 


ig4i 

cent. “ Vot I am rheerly gude at iss 
promotion.” When it comes to get¬ 
ting out a new line such as the 
House of Rubinstein launches 
every few months, Madame is 
indeed a downright whiz. 

The most recent of these is the 
Heaven-Sent line which appeared 
last spring after 15 months of prep¬ 
aration. Madame sniffed and re¬ 
jected some 800 odors before she 
finally fixed on one. She ordered a 
manufacturer to design a bottle 
suggesting a feminine figure, “with 
a light feeling.” When the model 
came back, she put pleats in the 
skirt and added a round stopper to 
suggest a head. For the soap^’ 
Madame chose a cake in the form 
of a puffy pink cloud, with white 
raised angels on the surface. She 
rejected the first design for the 
boxes — plain angel figures — as 
too austere and finally settled on a 
pattern of angels and clouds. 

The marketing campaign was 
brilliantly launched when 500 pink- 
and-blue balloons with the lieaven- 
Sent angels-and-clouds motif were 
dropped from the roof of Bon wit 
Teller’s store, each with a wicker 
basket containing a vial of cologne 
and the message: “Out of the Blue 
to You.” Women filled Fifth 
Avenue to grab for them. 

Rubinstein’s greatest promotion 
is undoubtedly herself. For years 
no Rubinstein advertisement ever 
appeared without a picture of 
Madame, usually in a chemical 
laboratory. She is portrayed as 


<55 

“one of the great women scientists 
of the world,” ceaselessly searching 
for more magical beauty ointments. 
This picture is so convincing that 
salon patrons occasionally plead 
for some special cream which the 
public cannot buy. If the customer 
insists, the operators may sell the 
lady an unlabeled jar for with 
the whispered assurance that it is 
“Madame’s own cream.” 

Until the war Madame was a 
constant traveler on the in¬ 
ternational glamour circuit. She 
maintained five homes — in Paris, 
Combs-la-Ville, London, New York 
and Greenwich, Ojiin. — and crossed 
from Europe to America six to eight 
times a year. Always she was 
dressed in the most spectacular 
Schiaparelli or Molyneux creations, 
with great blobs of jewelry. She 
seldom got off a boat without bring¬ 
ing forth the Empress Catherine’s 
emerald necklace or carrying radio¬ 
active bath bricks or announcing 
with breathless importance that 
green face powder was being worn 
in Paris. When she visited India it 
was made known that Madame had 
devised a special cream. Pomade 
Noire, for the muddy complexions 
of maharanees who, in return, had 
laden her with jewels. 

Madame’s guests are entertained 
in what is perhaps the most ar- 
restingly decorated apartment in 
New York. The drawing room is 
French Modern, hung with excel¬ 
lent Picassos and Renoirs, with a 
purple satin sofa to match Ma- 



66 


THE reader’s digest 


dame’s purple satin skirt. Guests 
dine in a gold-and-white baroque 
dining room by candlelight which 
flickers eerily over the hideous 
faces of Madame's fine collection 
of primitive African masks. After 
dinner, guests sip coffee in the 
“dream room,” done in the wavy 
style of an underseascape by sur¬ 
realist Dali. Good bridge players 
are sometimes thrown off their 
game by being seated before a 
statue of an overfed African canni¬ 
bal with a fringe of human hair 
still protruding from his lips. 

Madame is an extremely gen¬ 
erous friend, and plies people she 
likes with “leedle geefts” of per¬ 
fume which she has personally se¬ 
lected and of which she thinks no 
less highly for the fact that they did 
not sell well in the salon. She lends 
her collections frequently for char¬ 
ity exhibitions and one summer 
turned over her Greenwich home 
to a slight acquaintance who needed 
a summer place for two children. 
Her generosity is balanced by an 
iron determination to eliminate all 
needless expense. She does her own 
marketing in Greenwich late Satur¬ 


day afternoon, when she can haggle 
the storekeepers into cutting prices. 
She is a light-turnef-offer and a 
plate-licker-cleaner — which is only 
natural in a woman who saw 
enough poverty in her youth to 
give her a horror of waste. 

At present Madame is planning a 
new venture, to be known as the 
Gourielli Apothecary, around the 
corner from the Rubinstein salon. 
Here she plans to introduce, under 
her husband’s name, two new lines 
of expensive lotions, creams and 
perfumes, one for women and one 
for men. She has the idea that per¬ 
haps the beauty business has ex¬ 
ploited only half its potential 
market. “Men could be a lot more 
beautiful,” she sagely observes. 

If Madame’s idea succeeds, U. S. 
males may soon be subjected to the 
same devastating sales technique 
by which the beauty business an¬ 
nually extracts an average of $12 
from every woman in the country 
— a technique summed up by 
Madame herself in advice to her 
salesgirls: “You have got to look 
right down into their pocketbooks 
and get that last nickel** 



ScHLiNG, a New York florist, ran a whole advertisement in 
shorthand in The New York^ Times. Many a businessman cut it out 
and handed it to his secretary to translate. The ad asked secretaries to 
think of Schling when the boss wanted flowers for his wife. 


— Modern Selling 



Pete Hollis’s unique school system has turned a 
semi-slum into an attractive, alert community 


Mill-Town Miracle 

G)ndensed from School and Society 
George Kent 


N ot many years ago the 14 
mill towns around Green¬ 
ville, S. C., were as dismal 
as their names, such names as 
Union Bleachery or American Spin¬ 
ning. The houses were clapboard 
boxes standing bleakly at attention 
within earshot of the factory whis¬ 
tle. Company police kept order; 
company schools purveyed per¬ 
functory education which ended 
abruptly in the fifth grade. 

Then a man named L. P. Hollis 
was appointed district school super¬ 
intendent and things began to 
brighten up. Hollis, called Pete by 
everybody, set out to educate each 
one of the 25,000 inhabitants. “ It is 
not enough to teach children,” he 
said. “You must also teach the 
parents.” To do this he created a 
school system which is the center 
of all community life and has made 
the dreary towns attractive and 
happy places to live in, changed a 
listless people into self-respecting, 
purposeful citizens. The schools 
now are wholly independent of 
the mills. 

Hollis’s community education 
may be seen at work any day in the 
14 towns. It may be the library on 


wheels, which rolls from door to 
door. It may be a schoolmobile 
with a woman inside baking bis¬ 
cuits to show women the value of 
electrical appliances. A full-time 
psychiatrist goes through the dis¬ 
trict giving parents expert advice 
on the management of their chil¬ 
dren. A few years ago illiteracy 
was a problem: Hollis sent nine 
teachers to hold classes in homes, 
schools and factories. At the end of 
that year 435 adults had learned 
to read and write. 

Broken bottles and tin cans once 
disfigured the front yards of the 
towns. Pigpens added reek and ug¬ 
liness. Today, although family in¬ 
comes average less than ^1000 a 
year, you see pleasant lawns, gay 
and individual with shrubbery, lily 
pools and home-made garden fur¬ 
niture. Of their own accord the 
millworkers laid sidewalks, created 
public rose parks. The cost of these 
improvements came out of their 
pockets, voluntarily. 

Pete Hollis, who started all this, 
had never taught school a day in 
his life. He is a tall 2cx)-pounder 
now in his middle fifties, the son of 
a cotton farmer. He came to the 


T'ie Society Jor the Advancement of Education, Inc., 425 fV, jzj St., N. T. C. 

{Sebool and Society, August p, ’41) 67 



68 THE reader’s digest September 

neighborhood as a welfare worker, schoolhouse windows. Today they 
It was not long after his arrival linger long after disnyssal, reluc- 
that everybody realized he was the tant to leave their reading, ham- 
man to go to in time of trouble. If a mering and research work. Scores 
house burned down Hollis pledged arrive in the morning before their 
his personal credit for new furni- teachers to get in a lick on some 
ture and clothing. If expensive sick- treasured project, 
ness came he helped out. His secre- In much the same spirit Hollis 
tary complains, “He never has a overhauled the teaching system, 
dime because he is always lending He begged the use of a vacant sum- 
money.” But in all that concerns mer camp and invited his entire 
the schools and the community he staff to spend six weeks there work- 
is a careful, farsighted planner. ingout plans for improvement. The 
Hollis's appointment as head of cost was so low and the possibil- 
the school system was virtually ities for fun so enticing that i6o 
forced on him. When the schools of teachers came. Mornings were given 
the 14 towns consolidated as the to study; afternoons and evenings 
Parker School District in 1923, no to sport. In this atmosphere most 
educator could be found to take the of the 160 became fired with Hol- 
job of superintendent. The build- lis’s enthusiasm for community 
ings were run down, the budget education. 

meager. In desperation, the job was Hollis pays salaries above the 
given to Hollis, the community state average, lends teachers money 
wheel horse. when they are broke, organizes 

The new superintendent first set picnics when they go stale. On 
about to clean the old buildings these occasions Hollis is chef, boy- 
within an inch of their creaky lives, ishly proud of his skill with a steak 
He ripped out the seats. In the car- and an open fire. A few years ago 
penter shop the boys knocked to- he took 26 teachers to New York 
gether a lot of plain tables and for the summer session at Teachers 
chairs. These were easily moved. College, They all lived at one apart- 
could be stacked in a corner or ment house, meeting over home- 
arranged in a circle informally cooked meals to discuss their dis- 
about the teacher. On these cheap coveries. The school paid half the 
tables no child was afraid to spill expense and was amply repaid by 
paint or smear clay. Small, low-cost the ideas that emerged, 
improvements, they made a big One afternoon Hollis was stopped 
difference In the attitude of the on a Greenville street by a wealthy 
children. merchant. “Pete,” said the man. 

Before Hollis took charge the “what would you do with 11000?” 
youngsters threw stones at the Hollis mentally checked down his 



MILL-TOWN MIRACLE 


1941 

list of necessities and remembered 
the babies born on kitchen tables, 
the large number of mother and in¬ 
fant deaths due to ignorance and 
poverty, and replied, “I would do 
something for women who were 
going to have babies.” 

The merchant wrote out a check 
for $1000; this enabled Hollis to 
take over a five-room frame dwell¬ 
ing, put in beds, engage nurses and 
start in a small way the now famous 
Maternity Shelter. Later, funds 
from the Duke Foundation and the 
American Woman's Hospital en¬ 
abled him to expand its facilities. 

In ten years some 2400 babies 
have been delivered in this school 
hospital. Foundlings and ailing in¬ 
fants born elsewhere have been 
taken care of, and several thousand 
women have come to its clinics for 
prenatal attention and birth-con¬ 
trol advice. 

Senior high school girls go to the 
Shelter each morning to bathe 
babies, make up formulas and help 
mothers. If their parents consent, 
the girls may watch a delivery. 
They study nutrition and physi¬ 
ology. In this atmosphere facts of 
sex and reproduction are learned 
naturally and wholesomely. After 
20 hours at the Shelter the girls 
earn coif and apron, become Health 
Couriers. Armed with mask and 
thermometer they go from house to 
house preaching the importance of 
proper screening and eating, re¬ 
porting any illness that needs 
attention. 


69 

Second only to the Shelter in in¬ 
terest is the People’s College, whose 
slogan is “All sorts of classes for 
all sorts of people.” Some 3200 men 
and women attended last year, 
learning everything from how to 
sing in a choir to the art of setting 
a table. One class arrived to find 
quarters of beef hanging from the 
ceiling and a local meat cutter 
ready to lecture — as he cut and 
sawed — on what to look for in a 
butcher shop. The school lights 
blaze until past midnight. There is 
a complete textile plant and ma¬ 
chine shop to which mill hands 
come after work to learn skills that 
will mean advancement. 

In the schools the Hollis system 
is to supply materials, opportunity 
and incentive. The rest is up to the 
boys and girls. Science study begins 
with some personal interest — an 
enthusiasm for airplanes or a desire 
to repair the family electric iron. 
Whatever it is, it becomes the stu¬ 
dent’s private door opening into the 
vast world of science. I’hree boys 
bought a Model T Ford for a dollar, 
brought it to the schoolyard, dis¬ 
mantled it, carried the parts one 
by one to their third-floor shop. 
There it was reassembled with the 
aid of blueprints and a visit to an 
assembly plant. Then the car was 
again taken apart, again reassem¬ 
bled in the yard, and driven off. 

Some years ago a group of boys, 
after visiting the children’s museum 
at Washington, N. C., proposed to 
build a museum of their own. It 



70 


THE reader’s digest 


was to be a log cabin museum; a 
campaign to sell logs at a dollar 
each was successful, the museum 
was built and in the course of time 
filled with treasures that only curi¬ 
ous, ferreting youngsters can find. 

One feature of the Parker School 
District is the year-end science 
fair. Everything is there from wind¬ 
mills which actually pump water 
to tomatoes grown in chemical solu¬ 
tion. At the last fair, visitors were 
welcomed by a 24-foot-long electric 
sign, student-built, which spelled 
out “Parker” in letters four feet 
high. 

When older students quit school 
Hollis gets them half-time jobs in 
the careers they wish to pursue. 
The rest of the day they spend 
studying subjects tied in with their 
main interest. At present there are 
16 classes meeting in the factories, 

Qi 


under working foremen with a gift 
for teaching. Hollis’s y/)ung people 
wait on you in department stores 
and beauty parlors. They straighten 
your fenders, print your visiting 
cards, work in offices. 

The whole program of community 
education in the Parker District is 
carried out through funds raised 
by local taxation supplemented by 
some state support. And Hollis 
spends each year only 1-54.05 per 
pupil, whereas education through¬ 
out South Carolina costs $67.21 per 
pupil. 

Here is education without frills 
at low cost, producing fine citizens 
and restoring family life. The Hollis 
achievement can be duplicated in 
any community. All that is needed 
is a shoestring for capital and a 
belief in the willingness of men 
and women to help themselves. 


QiOar (Somes io 


enneasee 


C/HE CALM ROUTINE of a young lady 
of Tennessee was interrupted recently by army maneuvers. As she 
approached a bridge she was in the habit of driving over daily, 
she was stopped by a sentry. 

“Madam,” he said earnestly, “you can’t drive across this bridge. 
It has just been demolished.” 

Leaving her dumfbiindcd, for the bridge was in no way impaired, 
he walked off. 

As she debated the possibility that the sentry was insane, another 
soldier approached. She beckoned to him. “Young man,” she in¬ 
quired, “can you tell me any reason why I can’t cross this bridge?” 

“Lady,” he replied soberly, “I can’t tell you a thing. I’ve been 
dead for three days.” —Contributed by Dai$y Schwimmer 



^ A striving for better films and Kodaks 
leads to adventures—and profits— 
in vitamins, textiles, chemicals 

Kastman'^s Magic W^and of Research 

Condensed from Barron’s 
y. D. Ratcliff 

D ecades or advertising have enthusiastic young Eastman re- 
taught the world that “If searcher. One hot afternoon, notic- 
it isn’t an Eastman it isn’t ing a display of cod-liver oil in a 
a Kodak.” Not so well known is the drugstore window, he fell to won- 
fact that even if it isn’t a Kodak dering if the sun wasn’t destroying 
it may still be something made by vitamins in the oil. And wouldn't it 
Eastman — a spool of rayon yarn, be better if those vitamins were 
a bottle of vitamin concentrate, a concentrated, thereby becoming 
high-vacuum pump, the fuel th^t more stable? Neither fish oil nor 
broils your steak on a dining car, vegetable oil had ever been dis- 
or any of 3300 chemicals. tilled before. One research group 

Many of the things made in the had vainly spent half a million dol- 
Eastman plants at Rochester, N. Y., lars trying to refine linseed oil in 
and subsidiary factories elsewhere, ordinary stills, 
are entirely new products, the re- Dr. Hickman was working at the 
suits, sometimes unexpected, of the time with molecular stills, hoping 
company’s extensive research. “ Re- to develop something that would 
search opens new frontiers,” and help on the everlasting problem of 
the Eastman Company’s experi- film drying. A molecular still op- 
ence demonstrates that no one can crates in a vacuum, which makes it 
predict in which direction the new possible to distill some substances 
frontiers lie. Dr. C. E. K. Mees, that otherwise will not break down, 
head of Eastman’s research labo- How about trying cod-liver oil in 
ratories for 29 years, has a theory the molecular still—? 
about that. The thing to do, he Chemically speaking, a miracle 
says, is to let the research man happened when Hickman made the 
poke his inquisitive nose into some experiment. The oil began to break 
problem that fascinates him, and down. Globules of a waxy fat col- 
then follow it from fact to fact, lected on the glass condenser. Hick- 
no'matter how far off the original man forgot all about the problem 
track it leads. of film drying. He was oflFon some- 

Take Dr. Kenneth Hickman, an thing far more exciting. 

Copyright Barron's Pub. Co., 44 Broad St,, N. T. C. 

(Barron's, June 23, ’4/) 7/ 



72 


THE reader's digest 


September 


Analysis proved the waxy fat 
one of the best vitamin concentrates 
ever made. It was potent and all 
but tasteless. Together with Gen¬ 
eral Mills, Inc., Eastman set up a 
new company to make Vitamins A, 
C, D and E. This company, launched 
by an unpredictable twist in the 
long trail of free research, is now 
the world's largest maker of Vita¬ 
min A concentrate. 

This sideline of research even 
had its own sideline. Better vacuum 
pumps were needed to exhaust air 
from stills. The new company built 
them — and they were the most 
efficient commercial high vacuum 
pumps ever made. They have hun¬ 
dreds of applications, especially in 
making better X-ray, television 
and radio-broadcasting tubes. 

Research likewise led Eastman 
far off the track of photography in 
its plant at Kingsport, Tenn. Home 
movies, plus the disastrous fire of 
X-ray film which killed 124 people 
at the Cleveland Clinic in 1929, 
made the manufacture of safety 
film imperative. The Kingsport 
plant went to work making this 
product — slow-burning cellulose 
acetate. 

What else, Eastman research 
men asked themselves, could you 
do with cellulose acetate? They had 
a steady stream of answers: Plas¬ 
tics, acetate rayon, transparent 
wrapping materials. Nearly ^20,- 
cxx>,cxx) worth of these Eastman 
products were sold in 1939, creat¬ 
ing jobs for 6000 people. 


Eastman research has just given 
us a radically new optical glass, 
the first since Germany produced 
Jena glass in 1886. It is as radical 
as if someone found out how to 
make steel without iron. Instead of 
being made of silica (sand), the 
new glass is composed almost en¬ 
tirely of such rare elements as 
thorium, tungsten, lanthanum — 
and is vastly superior for many spe¬ 
cial purposes..The research for this 
glass took seven years. Of course 
optical glass, needed for range find¬ 
ers and binoculars, is an indis¬ 
pensable defense material. 

Eastman has thrived on research 
since 1912. In that year George 
Eastman, whose company had been 
marketing dry plates and flexible 
film since the ’8o’s, went to Eng¬ 
land to hire Dr. Mees — world re¬ 
nowned because of the supersensi¬ 
tive photo plates he had developed 
for a small manufacturer. To get 
Mees, Eastman had to buy the 
company. 

Mees was quite frank. Research, 
he told Eastman, wasn’t like a sau¬ 
sage mill. You couldn’t put brains 
in one end and grind out profitable 
ideas at the other. You had to 
accumulate small ideas patiently, 
hoping eventually to fit them to¬ 
gether into something big. Ten 
years might elapse before the labo¬ 
ratory produced anything worth¬ 
while. Could Eastman wait that 
long? He could. 

Actually Eastman had to wait 11 
years. Home movies, first major 



Eastman’s magic wand of research 


73 


194T 

product of Mees’s laboratory, 
were introduced in 1923, after 
seemingly insurmountable prob¬ 
lems had been solved. Professional 
movie cameras cost $500 and 
weighed 40 pounds. Tripods 
weighed another 30. Raw film cost 
four cents a foot and a foot lasted 
one second in a projection machine. 
Whittling down this bulk .and ex¬ 
pense was problem No. i. Problem 
No. 2 — which took five years — 
was to find a practical reversal 
method for finishing a film, so that 
the negative from the camera be¬ 
came, in the process of develop¬ 
ing, a positive for projection on the 
screen. 

An attack on the problem of color 
for home movies followed natu¬ 
rally. Two amateurs, working in 
New York, had made a promising 
start. Both were musicians: Leo¬ 
pold Mannes, pianist, and Leopold 
Godowsky, violinist. They had be¬ 
gun to experiment with color pho¬ 
tography in their schooldays, and 
had peppered Eastman with so 
many questions that Dr. Mees in¬ 
vited them to join the research 
staff. Intending to stay only a short 
while, they stayed ten years. 

Ultimately the two musicians 
worked out a method of laying 
several layers of emulsion on a film, 
each layer sensitive to a primary 
color. When exposed, these layers 
blended into a single picture, faith¬ 
ful to all the colors. This film is 
Kodachrome, which has already 
netted millions. 


The World War launched a chain 
of investigation that paid off hand¬ 
somely. On films made by older 
processes, reds and yellows photo¬ 
graph as black. But when certain 
dyes are added one gets a pan¬ 
chromatic” film sensitive to all 
color shadings. I'he Germans had 
developed the only dyes suitable 
for this purpose; with the war those 
dyes were cut off. Mees felt sure 
that other dyes existed. His chem¬ 
ists started a search that lasted 
eight years. In the end they de¬ 
veloped scores of new dyes better 
than any known before. 

In 1914 German supplies of or¬ 
ganic chemicals, essential to labo¬ 
ratory research, were also cut off. 
Mees tried to get others to under¬ 
take to synthesize the huge range 
of exotic chemicals needed. They 
refused. He took his story to George 
Eastman, proposing that his own 
company take on the job. ‘‘How 
much will we lose?” his employer 
asked. Mees said at least |ioo.ooo. 
Eastman said go ahead. 

Today there are 33CO organics 
in Eastman's list. Most of them are 
interesting only to the research 
chemist. A few are familiar to the 
layman: synthetic camphor, va¬ 
nilla, saccharin. Oddest of the lot is 
a synthetic skunk scent, used for 
alarm systems in mines. Men work¬ 
ing underground with noisy ma¬ 
chinery can’t hear bells but they 
can smell powerful skunk odor 
circulated by ventilating fans. 

Dr. Mees insists that his research 



74 


THE reader's digest 


men be given complete freedom. 
“The man who knows most about 
any project/* he says, “is the man 
doing the job. The man immedi¬ 
ately above him knows a little 
less, the research director consid¬ 
erably less. By the time you get up 
to a committee of vice-presidents 
they know precisely nothing.’* 

Eastman has so little to fear 
from competition that a less far¬ 
sighted management might have 
decided years ago to rest on its 
oars. Instead, budgets for experi¬ 
mental work have climbed at a 
dizzy rate: from almost nothing 
in 1912 to 15,000,000 at present. 
Current research expenditures rep¬ 
resent about 25 cents for every 
dollar of earnings. 

Costly? Yes; but during 1929-39 
Eastman’s employment rose 75 
percent and 19,000,000 was added 


to the annual payroll. “I’ve never 
heard of a company goiilg bank¬ 
rupt because it spent too much on 
research,” says Dr. Mees. 

Dr. Mees sees, looming before 
him, a mountain of work yet to 
be done. The amateur should have 
color for his snapshots as cheap as 
ordinary black-and-white pictures. 
The motion picture industry wants 
cheaper color film. More funda¬ 
mental facts are needed about the 
theory of photography, which Dr. 
Mees thinks of as a vast mosaic 
with half the pieces missing. “Yet 
we don’t know what we want, and 
certainly don’t know how to get 
it.” 

No one could have foreseen such 
by-products as vitamins or plastics. 
It is equally impossible today to 
foresee all the products that will be 
discovered tomorrow. 



(SnJt 


urance 


I LIKE the rugged things of earth — 

A gnarled old oak, wind-lashed, unbent; 
A granite cliff of age-old birth; 

The sea whose strength is never spent. 


I like the rugged ones of earth 
Who go life’s way with heads unbowed, 
Mature in wisdom spiced with mirth, 
Buffeting the years, dauntless, proud. 

— loae Steen Keltner in 
Kansas City Star 



Polish fighters with the RAF are 
writing a saga of reckless daring 


Poland'^s Avenging Eagles 

Condensed from The New York Times Magazine 
Craig Thompson 


F or their bravery in combat 
the Poles flying in the Royal 
Air Force are becoming the 
legendary heroes of this war. They 
are demoniac fighters because their 
lives have lost practically all spirit¬ 
ual values except hatred and thirst 
for vengeance against Hitler’s Lu/l- 
waffe. They have lost their families, 
homes, country. Death is to th^m 
unimportant as long as in dying 
they are able to deal a blow at the 
cause of their tragedy. 

Air Ministry communiques tell¬ 
ing of Polish deeds rigidly adhere 
to a policy of anonymity because 
most of these men have relatives 
and friends living under German 
domination. Only once since last 
August has this rule been officially 
relaxed. This was in the case of 
Sergeant Pilot Josef Franciszek 
whose identity was revealed only 
after he had lost his life. The 
Distinguished Flying Medal was 
awarded him because in one half 
day’s dogfighting he downed five 
German planes. 

In the beginning Polish eager¬ 
ness raised a crop of headaches 
among British commanding offi¬ 
cers. On the ground the Poles were 


obedient. But in the air they 
wouldn’t stay in formations if there 
was anything in the sky to fight. 
Efforts to command them by radio 
were met with “No speak Ang- 
laish” when they answered at all. 

While the majority of Polish 
pilots are scattered throughout the 
air service, there is one all-Pole 
fighting squadron and one bomber 
squadron. The Kosciusko Squad¬ 
ron is a reincarnation of an old 
fighting unit. There was a Kosci¬ 
usko Squadron in Poland before 
Hitler’s Blitz. Its antiquated crates, 
insufficiently armed, were utterly 
inadequate against Hitler’s su¬ 
perior planes. Squadron members 
fought gallantly and then fled, via 
the Balkans, into France. There, 
recruiting other flying Poles, they 
got some equipment and again 
took to the air as a unit. When 
France fell they fled to England. 
The squadron was organized as 
part of the British Air Force Aug¬ 
ust 1,1940. It was not scheduled to 
go into active service until it had 
a month’s training to acquaint 
members with their Spitfires and 
Hurricanes. But the boys couldn’t 
stand the delay. It was on August 


Copyright 194T, ‘the New York Yimes Co., Yimes Square, N. Y. C. 
{Ybe New York Yimes Magazine, June sg, *41) 


73 



THE READER'S DIGEST 


76 


30, a day before the squadron was 
supposed to be in actual combat, 
that Franciszek brought down his 
bag of five German planes. 

The bomber squadron, as a final 
step in training, was ordered to 
take off with a full load of gasoline 
and bombs, just as if it were going 
on a long raid. The planes lumbered 
skyward. They should have re¬ 
turned within a short time. But 
hours passed while the commanding 
officers worried. Finally the bomb¬ 
ers circled the field and landed. 

“Where*ve you been?” the com¬ 
mander demanded. 

“Bombing Berlin,** the Poles 
answered with eloquent brevity. 

In September 1940, month of the 
big Blitz, the Kosciusko Squadron 
alone knocked down 118 planes. 
The day -King George visited the 
squadron the Poles celebrated by 
bagging''^3 German planes — one 
third of all the planes shot down 
that day by the entire RAF. 

The Poles are daredevil pilots. 
Their bombers scrape the rooftops 
of German bases in France to carry 
out their missions in the teeth of 
the heaviest barrages. Their fight¬ 


ers unhesitatingly attack over¬ 
whelming numbers — sweeping, 
stalling, and spraying destruction 
all over the sky. 

But they are also good pilots. A 
Polish pilot detailed to a photo¬ 
graphic reconnaissance job climbed 
into his Spitfire and drove skyward 
without noticing a mechanic strad¬ 
dling the tail. About 500 feet up 
he discovered he couldn*t level off. 
Pilots on the ground watching the 
desperate battle between the Pole 
and the machine saw him skillfully 
slip tail downward back to earth, 
gunning the engine when his con¬ 
trol was threatened by gravity. 
He swung around the field and, 
just as he seemed about to light 
on his tailfins, miraculously got the 
plane’s nose down, making a good 
but bumpy two-wheel landing. 

“This is an unstable plane,’* the 
pilot said as he climbed out. “It is 
fortunate that I am a test pilot and 
so accustomed to instability.** 

Only then he learned that he had 
been flying one of the most deli¬ 
cately balanced kites ever made, 
with 180 pounds of terrified me¬ 
chanic on its tail. 





Inhabitants of a Norwegian fishing village —so a current war 
story goes — witne^ed the forced landing of an airplane offshore. 
A fisherman set out to rescue the pilots but soon returned without 
them. “They were Germans,” he explained. 

“But weren’t they alive?” someone in the crowd asked. 

“Well, one of them said he was, but you know how these Nazis 
lie.” 



C[ Red-headed;, moose-voiced, Larry MacPhail has turned 
a joke team into a pennant contender — and 
Brooklyn baseball fans adore him 


Larruping Larry MacPhail 

Condensed from The New Yorker 
* Robert Lewis "Taylor 


(TTpSp MANY RESIDENTS of BrOok- 


I 


lyn the most important man 
their community is the 
president of the Brooklyn Dodgers 
baseball club, bellicose, -red-faced, 
clownish Larry MacPhail. He is 
their idol chiefly because of his 
command of vituperation and his 
eagerness to battle for the team. 
When Joe Medwick, the Dodger 
left fielder, was hit by a pitched ball 
last season, MacPhail galloped out 
of the stands and across the dia¬ 
mond, waving his arms and roaring 
in his vibrant voice. MacPhail de¬ 
clared that he had seen the throw 
and that it had been deliberate. 
The fact that he had emerged from 
the press club, which has no view 
of the field, did not matter to the 
Brooklyn fans, who felt that he 
was making a noble effort to pro¬ 
tect their rights. Afterwards, in a 
final righteous gesture, MacPhail 
tried to have the pitcher put in jail. 

When MacPhail took over the 
Dodgers in 1938, the club had been 
losing money for six years, and was 
over a million dollars in debt. The 
club owed the Brooklyn Trust 
Company alone so much that the 
bank was practically running the 


team. A year earlier the Dodgers 
had finished sixth in the National 
League; the players were listless 
and the emotional Brooklyn fans 
were sulking in their homes. To 
introduce glamour, MacPhail hired 
a drillmkster to improve his ushers* 
stance and dressed them in flashy 
green-and-gold uniforms. “The head 
usher looked like a rear admiral,” 
one reporter wrote. “Many of the 
fans saluted him.” MacPhail put 
murals on the walls of the refresh¬ 
ment stands, built a luxurious free 
bar for the press, and announced 
that eventually he was going to 
pipe radio music into the rest¬ 
rooms. Then with noisy but in¬ 
spired strategy, he went to work 
to build a winning team — so suc¬ 
cessfully that, as this is written, the 
Dodgers have a fair chance to win 
the pennant, are attracting cus¬ 
tomers in unprecedented numbers, 
and are the most discussed club 
in either league. 

MacPhail stands slightly over 
six feet, weighs 195 pounds, and 
has the neck of a bouncer. His hair 
is bright red; his red face is liberally 
freckled; and his habitual expres¬ 
sion seems to be a silent appeal for 


Copyright 194/, F-R Pnh, Corp.^ 25^' 43 C*. 

{The New Yorkery July 12 and /p, ‘4/) 


77 



y8 THE READER S DIGEST ‘ September 

Bromo-Seltzer. “Larry can’t help to consider the purchase of catch-* 
the way he looks,” one of his ers’ mitts or rubbing alcoj^ol. • 
friends says. “He was born with a He next announced that he was 
built-in leer.” going to experiment with night 

MacPhail’s clothes do much to baseball. He went to the General 
light up the Brooklyn scene. He Electric Company and bought 
wears loud check suits or such com- $72,000 worth of lighting equip- 
binations as pale green trousers ment. Having no money he told 


with a yellow plaid jacket. When 
he feels particularly festive he puts 
on a Windsor tie and lets the ends 
float over his shoulders as he walks. 

His voice, an important part of 
his equipment, is raspy and carry¬ 
ing and has often been compared, 
with scientific accuracy, to the call 
of a moose. On mornings after the 
Dodgers have lost a game he brays 
with such effect that his office em¬ 
ployes turn pale and crowds collect 
on the sidewalk three stories below, 

MacPhail’s competitors consider 
him one of the canniest operators 
in baseball, but he is unable to op¬ 
erate without gaudy flourish. Dur¬ 
ing spring training in the South 
this year he became convinced that 
the players needed red meat, and 
ordered 400 sirloin steaks flown 
down from New York by’^ plane. 

Shortly after taking over his job 
he walked into the office of the 
president of the Bi*ooklyn Trust 
Company and said, “I need $50,000 
for a first baseman.” Then he 
opened wide the floodgates of his 
wonderful syntax. In slightly more 
than four minutes he had the 
money. Before MacPhail’s arrival 
the trust company had been in the 
habit of calling a directors’ meeting 


the company to charge it. The first 
night game in the New York area, 
between the Dodgers and the Cin¬ 
cinnati Reds, was a bizarre event. 
MacPhail led off with a monster 
fireworks display and followed it 
with a sprinting contest between 
Jesse Owens, the Negro runner, and 
several ballplayers. When Johnny 
Vander Meer that night pitched 
his second no-hit game in a row, 
MacPhail acted as if this was no 
more than he had expected. During 
the rest of the 1938 season he 
whooped up attendance by various 
types of buffoonery. But while 
successful financially, the team 
collapsed into seventh place. 

MacPhail fired the manager and 
appointed shortstop Leo Durocher 
in his place. Durocher was the nat¬ 
ural candidate for the job. He is 
one of tlie most belligerent men in 
baseball, his vocal stamina second 
only to MacPhail’s, Alone either 
of them can shout down almost any 
two umpires; together they are in¬ 
vincible. 

Durocher’s gabby truculence has 
probably been one of the causes of 
the team’s renascence. The Dodgers 
have taken on the spirit of a college 
football team. Durocher gives locker- 





LARRUPING LARRY MACPHAIL 


79 




room pep talks in the best tradi¬ 
tion or the cinema coach, and some¬ 
times he punishes a player who has 
pulled a boner by making him sit 
alone in the clubhouse for several 
hours after the others have gone 
home. 

In 1939 MacPhail sprung another 
innovation when he arranged for 
Dodger games to be broadcast, sell¬ 
ing radio rights for $1000 a game. 
He probably would not discontinue 
them even if they were unprofitable, 
because he genuinely enjoys them. 
One day last season a tied score 
prolonged a game and WOR phoned 
that the broadcast would be cut off 
at six on account of a speech' by 
Herbert Hoover. MacPhail came 
roaring into the radio room, pulling 
plugs out of their sockets and yell¬ 
ing something that sounded like 
“The hell with Herbert Hoover!” 
After he had been quieted WOR 
was told that MacPhail refused to 
give way to Hoover and the Dodg¬ 
ers’ broadcast was completed. 

Soon after the money started 
flowing into the box office Mac¬ 
Phail went on a shopping spree for 
players. He hired 15 talent scouts 
and sent them to look over minor- 
league and sand-lot players. One of 
the scouts discovered Pete Reiser 
playing with a Class D team in Wis¬ 
consin. Reiser’s contract cost Mac¬ 
Phail $100 — a good investment 
since Reiser, now playing center 
field for the Dodgers and at the 
moment leading the league in bat- 
.ting, is considered the best rookie 


in baseball. In contrast, MacPhail 
put up ^135,000 to get Joe Medwick 
from the St. Louis Cardinals. His 
acumen in trading players is an im¬ 
portant factor in the Dodgers’ 
success. 

Brooklyn’s idol was born Leland 
Stanford MacPhail, 51 years ago, 
in Cass City, Mich. An athlete and 
boy wonder at 16, he entered Beloit 
College, where he was regarded as 
one of the loudest debaters in Be¬ 
loit’s history. At 20 he went to work 
for a Chicago law firm but as they 
didn’t make him a partner after six 
months he transferred to another 
firm which did. MacPhail was as¬ 
signed to reorganize one of its cli¬ 
ents, a tool company. As soon as he 
finished an excellent job he deserted 
law to work for the client. Within a 
year he moved to Nashville, Tenn., 
to become president of a large de¬ 
partment store. He was then get¬ 
ting on toward 25. 

MacPhail is probably the only 
man in baseball who ever tried to 
kidnap a European monarch. In 
Nashville MacPhail met Luke Lea, 
founder of the Nashville Tennessean. 
When we entered the war they or¬ 
ganized a volunteer regiment, and 
were sent overseas. Lea being com¬ 
missioned colonel and MacPhail 
captain. They fought at St. Mihiel 
and in the Argonne, where Mac¬ 
Phail was wounded and gassed. 

Shortly after the armistice Lea, 
who had been a United States 
Senator, used his influence with 
our Minister to Belgium to get a 



So 


THE reader’s digest 


pass into Holland, claiming official 
business. His party, including Mac- 
Phail and five others, drove up to 
the Kaiser’s residence. A member 
of the party was about to tap the 
sentry on the head with a wrench 
when Lea stopped him. “That’s 
where we made our mistake,” Mac- 
Phail says. “We should have tunked 
him.” They got inside the castle 
but before they could accomplish 
their famous Kaiser-kidnaping mis¬ 
sion they were forced by the arrival 
of Dutch troops to flee. 

Returning home, MacPhail be¬ 
came president of the Columbus, 
Ohio, ball club, a step which led 
eventually to his Brooklyn post. 
Realizing that Brooklyn feels in¬ 
ferior to Manhattan, he has capital¬ 
ized on the borough’s sensitivity 
and has fired the Brooklyn fans 
with his own bellicose spirit. 


MacPhail plays the piano expertly 
and leans toward the classics. His 
favorite symphony is Tchaikovs.,.’s 
fourth and he converted Red Bar¬ 
ber, the Dodgers’ radio announcer, 
to a worshipful affection for Tchai¬ 
kovsky. Last fall, in a flowery 
speech at a Dodger banquet, Bar¬ 
ber drew an analogy between the 
progress of the Dodgers through 
the season and the thematic devel¬ 
opment of Tchaikovsky’s fourth 
symphony. In telling some frien is 
about Barber’s speech, MacPhail 
said, “You remember in the first 
movement, where those brasses 
come in.? According to Barber, that 
was me running out on Ebbets 
Field to holler at an umpire. It was 
the damnedest thing you ever heard. 
A wonderful speech! I don’t be¬ 
lieve a soul at the banquet under¬ 
stood it.” 


Don’t Miss 

DL fjationai Kil SefL 


er 


Condensed in this issue 
THIS ABOVE ALL 

By Eric Knight 

very great novel of our time. Every ingredient of 
the best fiction is present — plot, wonderful dialogue, 
plenty of action.” — Boston Transcript 

A love Story of strong, wonderful tenderness.”— n.y. Tints 
“/f tribute to human courage and the freedom it defends.” 

—Philadelphia Evening Bulletin 

(See page ijs) 



’j^^youngsteii in laboratories the country over are 
; working out inventions for the world of tomorrow 


,j, Our Teen-Age Edisons 

Condensed from The American Magazine 


John D. Greene 




A 


^LL OVER America more than long to 790 scientific clubs that 
30j000 youngsters, mem- have sprung up under the guidance 
jy. bers of junior science and of the American Institute, founded 
^igiiieering clubs, are staying after 113 years ago to promote inventive 
:»chodI to tackle research problems genius. Their success proves that 
that have proved too tough for enthusiastic youngsters must be 
„iieir elders — or haven't even oc- taken seriously as inventors. Mar- 
r .irred to them. And these boys and coni was only 21 when he startled 
^irls are getting results. the world with his wireless; Wil- 

• Not long ago a 17-year-old Cali- liam Henry Perkin at 18 developed 
fornia lad developed a radio, about aniline dyes in a home laboratory. 


the size of the palm of your hand, 
that will both receive and transmit 
messages. The National Inventors 
Council, mobilizing America's in- 
K'entors for defense, has already 
'^^ognized its possibilities for army 
'i*pimunications. Another young- 


Today our teen-age Edisons are 
producing inventions that may be 
just as important. It was a high 
school boy, working in a New Jer¬ 
sey electric plant during the sum¬ 
mer, who developed a new type of 
switch that helped make fluores- 


has worked out the most ac- cent lamps practical for commer- 
'■* Spite method yet devised for cial use. 

,w’^termining the acidity or alkalin- Most of our short-pants scien- 
ly of soil or other substances. A tists are doing their research in 

:^y in Boston has constructed a high school laboratories, but in 

type of darkroom — a port- New York two nation-wide corpo- 
i^e, glassed-in box with sleeves rations recently equipped a labora- 




tory especially for them. There 
dozens of boys and girls in smocks 
and white coats work at brain- 
teasers with the self-assurance of a 
Curie or a Steinmetz. 

A bright-eyed lad of 15 gravely 
fi^e youthful trail blazers be- explained to me his experiments on 


the photographer's arms. The 
*^|es are coated with red gelatine, 
you can see what you are doing 
but the light will not spoil the film. 

t l^fth it you can develop films in a 
room. 




Copyright The Crowell-Cottier Pub, Co.j 250 Park //tv., N. T. C. 
(STAr American Magazine^ July, 


Si 



THE reader’s digest 


82 

a process to transmit sound on a 
beam of light — a project which 
might revolutionize the acoustics 
of halls and theaters. Nearby, a 14- 
year-old boy was working to trans¬ 
form kitchen waste into fertilizers, 
carbon, and coal-tar substances. 
Three boys were busy on a new 
scheme for operating airplanes by 
radio control. Sure that their idea 
is better than any grown-up inven¬ 
tor’s, they are having their chance 
to find out. Another boy was trying 
to discover the cause of fading in 
ultra high-frequency radio trans¬ 
mission. In the menagerie section 
one lad is conducting thyroid ex¬ 
periments on tadpoles, a second 
trying to predetermine the sex of 
rats, and a third studying genetics 
and heredity in fruit flies. 

Most of the clubs are sponsored 
by high school teachers, but any 
adult in any community may serve 
as club leader. The youngsters pay 


dues of 10 cents a year, entitling 
them to compete for ^numerous 
scholarships. At regional annual 
meetings they exhibit their work, 
vie for $3000 in prizes, and read 
their own scientific papers. Out¬ 
standing junior scientists are en¬ 
couraged to go to New York during.. 
vacations to work at the American 
Institute laboratory. 

The businessmen who are sup¬ 
porting the program hope to turn 
up more and better inventive 
brains for industry. But the pro¬ 
gram goes further than that. Amer¬ 
ica’s 30,000 junior scientists arp 
also training themselves for duties 
in the postwar world — rehabilita¬ 
tion in Europe and the creation of 
new employment-giving industries 
here and in South America, where 
there is a growing need for tech¬ 
nicians. It looks as if our serious- 
minded younger generation has 
found itself a job. 




Yo-Ho-Hd 

The wardrobe of the American seaman is in a state of flux: some 
sailors, we’re told, are wearing new fatigue uniforms of white shirts and 
shorts; according to a newspaper item, Gene Tunney, now in charge of 
the physical welfare of the men, has advanced such sensational sugges¬ 
tions as the adoption of suspenders, abandonment at the bell bottoms 
on the pants, and buttoning of the pants in from. Tunney is said to con¬ 
sider the whole naval getup anachronistic. 

The bng collar on sailors’ blouses is an anachronism all right. Back in 
the days when sailors had pigtails and put mr on them to keep them 
slick, they wore a sort of apron to protect their blouses. The pigtails are 
gone, but not the collars. — The New 






Condensed from The Rotarian 
Michael Scully 

O NLY 300 miles of the 765- Indians ran like rabbits at the sight 

I mile road were completed of our auto. Little crops of coffee, 

when my wife and I first corn, beans and tobacco, packed 

drove from Texas to Mexico City over the mountains on burros or 
in early 1933. Over much of the j>oled down to the Gulf in dugouts, 

distance we plowed through jungle provided a scant living for these 

bogs or crawled along raw mountain people who were still in the 17th 

shelves hardly wider than the car. century. 

We carried our own food and water, But life today along that first 
and one memorable night we shared section of the Pan-American High- 
the dirt-floored home of an Indian way proves that roads are the 
family, the only shelter to be had. master key to a vital new era in the 
Human life was as primitive as republics to the south. It explains 
the land itself. Towns and villages why the United States is contribut- 
founded by colonizing Spaniards ing ^$20,000,000 toward completing 
were so mountain-locked before the this trunk road to the Panama 
road came that they had never seen Canal — to be matched by a $10,- 
a wheel — not even an oxcart; ragged 000,000 expenditure by the Central 

Copyright tp4it Rotary Inttmationalf JS E. ff^aeker Driotg CUeago, lU, 

(ytbt Rotariant Stptemberg *4t) 83 



$4 the reader S digest September 


American countries. And it gives a 
bright preview of the mutual bene¬ 
fits expected when the Americas are 
finally linked by land. 

This year, along the highway 
that in 1933 was just a scar through 
primeval country, 200,000 Ameri¬ 
can motorists will sleep in modern 
hotels, eat in air-conditioned res¬ 
taurants, and have their cars serv¬ 
iced at well-equipped stations. 

Already turismo is Mexico’s first 
industry. In one year our motorists 
have taken 137,000,000 into the 
country — more than the value of 
the chief Mexican export, silver. A 
few years ago Mexico City had three 
modern hotels; today twelve are 
inadequate at the peak of the tour¬ 
ist season. 

But more important are the 
changes which only old-timers would 
note — farms with windmills and 
fenced fields, electric-lighted homes, 
radios, girls wearing shoes, boys on 
bicycles, stores selling manufac¬ 
tured goods the natives had never 
seen eight years ago. 

Population in the highway zone 
has trebled; wherever a road con¬ 
struction crew pitched camp, a 
permanent village has sprung up. 
Valles, midway to the capital, has 
^rown from a thatched village of 
3000 people to a neon-lighted town 
of 10,000, with modem movie house, 
stores, and sanitation system. Its 
^ew hotels house 500 guests. It 
boasts a thriving Rotary Club. 

Scores of crude feeder roads have 
broadened the highway’s influence 


by 20 to 40 miles. Built by hand, 
without government aid, by co¬ 
operating villagers or liftle lo-acre 
farmers, these roads are proof that 
in these once isolated and lethargic 
people there is initiative, ready to 
respond to modem stimulus. 

Farm production along the Pan- 
American Highway has increased 
tenfold in volume and variety, the 
while Mexico’s agricultural produc¬ 
tion as a whole slumped. The beau¬ 
tiful 50-mile valley south of Mon¬ 
terrey, where eight years ago there 
were only a few orange groves, 
today is two thirds planted in citrus 
fruits, pears, truck gardens and 
cane; the fruit blossoms support a 
growing honey industry. Farther 
south fields of tomatoes, onions, 
carrots and beets are producing 
new profits and improving the na¬ 
tive diet. New roadside schools teach 
elementary agriculture to Indians 
whose farming implements until 
now have been a machete and a 
planting stick. Most of Mexico has 
been in bad shape economically; 
the highway zones have been the 
exceptions, like rivers in a desert. 

The highway has brought im¬ 
provement also to the social and 
political patterns of Mexican life. 
A few years ago the country was a 
crazy quilt of loosely governed areas 
bounded by mountains that en¬ 
closed each isolated valley. Nar- 
tional government was something 
the mass of peons understood vaguely 
if at aU. T 1 leir first allegiance was 
to a local chief. 



ROAD ACROSS CENTURIES 


1941 


85 


Now the peon talks with men 
from distant places, and even trav¬ 
els occasionally himself. Newspapers 
and cheap radios reach his village. 
In the recent presidential campaign 
millions of people became aware of 
national issues for the first time, 
and the country came closer than 
ever before to a really democratic 
election. 

.The United States, too, has shared 
the benefits of Mexico*s roads. More 
than 1800 American-made passenger 
buses and 20,000 trucks are plying 
Mexican highways. Three major 
Detroit automobile makers have 
built Mexican assembly plants for 
passenger cars. Our tourists’ dollars 
come back to buy electrical, plumlB- 
ing, farm, garage and factory equip¬ 
ment and scores of other items. 
Motorists, asking for their habitual 
brands, have introduced American 
canned and packaged goods to 
Mexican consumers. 

Mexico has finished one third of 
the 955-mile route from Mexico 
City to Guatemala, and most of 
the rest is usable in dry weather. 
Below Mexico, of the 1532-mile 
route 400 miles has been paved and 
another 6cx3 miles is now ^-weather 
road. The United States advanced 
11,000,000 for the most vital bridges, 
and lent Costa Rica j|l4,6oo,ooo 
and Nicaragua $4,000,000 for road 
work. At emergency speed the 
entire highway can be opened in 

1945- 

What will this, mean to. Central 
America and to the United States.^ 


Similar in soil and climate to the 
Dutch East Indies and Malaya, 
Central America can produce, close 
to our ports, most of the tropical 
products that we now import from 
half a world away. Dr. George 
Curtis Peck, making an economic sur¬ 
vey for the U. S. government, found 
camphor, quinine, hemp, industrial 
oils and gums, tea, spices, rubber 
and many of the minerals our in¬ 
dustry needs. In favored spots, 
easily accessible, these commodities 
are already being produced. He is 
convinced Central America can be 
made the most diversified tropical 
agricultural area in the world. Costa 
Rica, best developed of the coun¬ 
tries, is only seven percent culti¬ 
vated. In Nicaragua only five per¬ 
cent of 20,000,000 tillable acres are 
worked. The reason. Dr. Peck con¬ 
cluded, is lack of adequate trans¬ 
portation. 

No railroad has ever linked these 
countries; they have relied on slow 
coastwise boats and, recently, planes. 
High transportation costs have 
made modern living standards im¬ 
possible for 90 percent of the 
population. In Guatemala’s interior 
gasoline costs 75 cents a gallon. A 
lo-cent can of condensed milk brings 
45 cents in the Costa Rican high¬ 
lands. A wealthy Nicaraguan rancher 
paid $3100 for a bathroom which 
would have cost about $800 in an 
American city. It is cheaper for 
Nicaragua and Costa Rica to buy 
rice from the Orient than to haul 
their domestic rice over the moun- , 



86 


THE READER S DIGEST 


tains. Guatemala, with 18,000,000 
acres of the world’s finest forests, 
imports pine from Oregon for less 
than the cost of oxcart haul from 
its interior. 

Costs explain more clearly than 
climate why the masses are under 
par physically, unproductive and 
illiterate. It has been prohibitive 
to build schools, introduce modern 
sanitation, or install progressive 
farming, mining or marketing meth¬ 
ods except along the coasts. The 
highways will develop new products 


that will support a larger popula¬ 
tion on a higher standard of living. 
Colonizing schemes are already un¬ 
der way. 

The road is not a project that 
awaits the ceremonial cutting of a 
ribbon before its benefits are ap¬ 
parent. It is already pumping vital¬ 
ity into countries that must become 
strong if they are to live securely 
in the world of tomorrow, creating 
new supplies and new markets 
within a few hundred miles of our 
doors. 



7. 


Newest decoration for wedding 
cakes supplied by a New York shop are 
realistic miniature wax figures of the 
bride and groom, shown as they walked 
down the aisle, with costumes dupli¬ 
cated to the last button. The sculptor 
catches the likeness of the couple at one 
sitting; or the figures may be modeled 
iioni photographs. Glass globes to fit 
over teakwood pedestals, s^ with the 
cake, make it possible to preserve the 

models for a lifetime. 

— Clementine Paddleferd in N. Y. Herald Tribt^ 

C The tobacco of Drinkee, the latest 
flung in cigarettes served at New York 
aj^ht clubs, is liquorized in Martini, 


Creme dc Menthe, Manhattan and 
other spirit flavors. 

~ Alice Hughes in N. Y. Post 

* By crossing the onion with certain 
types of lily bulbs, Major Harry L. 
Bateson of Long Beach, Calif., has de¬ 
veloped an odorless onion whose flavor 
is unimpaired. — The American Weekly 

For people who say, ‘Td love 
cooking if it weren’t for the dirty 
dishes,” the Shanty Playroom in New 
York oflfers a cook-it-yourself-and- 
we’U-clcan-it-up service. You tell the 
waiter what you want to cook and he 
brings the ingredients. If things go 
wrong, the chef takes over. — Vogut 

C. A VITAMIN CAPSULE IS part of every 
lunch sent out to offices by a New York 
restaurant. “Light lunches seldom have 
sufficient vitamins,” an accompanying 
note explams. “This capsule will insure 
a properly balanced dieL” 




4^ Appcti,tes, passions, even virtues must be 
bribed, else health and happiness suffer 


JVhat Is Your Intemperance? 

Condensed from Your Life 
Bruce Barton 


I NTEMPERANCE to most Ameri¬ 
cans means only one thing: 
overindulgence in alcohol. But 
for every man ruined by the bottle, 
hundreds dig their graves by other 
forms of intemperance — excessive 
work, roller-coaster emotionalism, 
worry, too violent exercise or the 
feverish pursuit of pleasure. These 
things drain our vital energies afld 
cruelly - punish heart and nerve 
tissues. No one has ever bettered 
that 2500-year-old Greek formula 
for the good life: “Nothing in 
excess.” 

The obituary columns in the 
daily press are spattered with the 
bloodstains of self-slaughter: “Gradu¬ 
ated from medical school, interne 
at hospital, successful surgeon, died 
yesterday, age 50.” “Clerk, chief 
clerk, junior partner, founded own 
business, died yesterday at 49.” 
Why this tragic sacrifice of costly 
experience and matured judgment? 
Intemperate idolatry of work! 
“Hard work” has traditionally 
been the glory of American life, 
and certainly no one would ad¬ 
vocate the vegetable existence in 
which responsibilities are^ shirked 
and talents run to weed. But the 


American worship of hard work, 
says Lin Yutang, is a national 
cross on which men crucify them¬ 
selves. Mercilessly we whip up our 
flagging energies to achieve a stand¬ 
ard of living handed to us ready¬ 
made by society. We rarely evalu¬ 
ate this standard according to our 
own desires or to our ability to 
achieve it without too great cost 
in health and happiness. 

This drives us to worry, with 
its bad effects on digestion, blood 
pressure and nerves. Experiments 
show that even a little worry in¬ 
creases the tension of the heart 
and blood vessels. If this tension 
could be translated into activity 
some good might result. But worry 
churns round and round in the 
same orbit, exhausting precious 
energy. 

Some of us who were proficient 
worriers in youth have learned 
to police this particular intem¬ 
perance. We ask ourselves: Is my 
worry one that I can do something 
about? If it isn’t, our worry won’t 
alter things. If it is, we try to 
translate the worry stimulus into 
constructive action. 1 recall now 
three worries that hung over me 

87 


Copyright 194/^ The Kingsway PresSt Inc., 354 Fourth Ave., N. Y. C. 
(Tour Ufe, September, '41) 



88 THE READER S DIGEST September 


like dark branches until I lopped 
them ofF with the axe of positive 
action. One was a stock investment 
in which I had a loss; the worry 
was whether to sell and take the 
loss, or hold on and try to even up. 
The second was a lawyer’s bill, 
unjustly large; yet I either had to 
pay it or be sued. The third worry 
concerned the health of a member 
of my household. 

One morning I decided to clean 
up my worries all at once. First, I 
sold the stock, took my loss and 
forgot it. Then I paid the lawyer’s 
bill and was allowed a good dis¬ 
count for cash. Then I went to the 
best physician in his field and ar¬ 
ranged to have the ailing member 
of my family examined. His re¬ 
port told us exactly what had to 
be done. The mental relief was 
immense; as a result of these re¬ 
leasing decisions my energies were 
freed from the unproductive tread¬ 
mill of anxiety. 

Right now, how many men are 
fighting the war alone in their beds 
at night! And to what end? Worry 
over great decisions belongs to the 
leaders who asked to be invested 
with it. Our best contribution to 
the common cause is to keep our¬ 
selves mentally and physically fit, 
and introduce efficiency into what¬ 
ever our daily work is. Most of us 
have jobs that, well done, fit not 
insignificantly into the total pic¬ 
ture of defense. 

We are going to experience some 
tough times in the near future. We 


face inconvenience, shortages of 
food and material. We may lose 
most of our money.*Young men 
will give up precious years in mili¬ 
tary service; parents will see their 
children’s careers interrupted and 
cast upon the waters of a chaotic 
future. But these things are not as 
bad as the cancer of unreasoning 
fear. Personally, I refuse to live 
through these terrors again and 
again in imagination. Shakespeare’s 
lines, “Cowards die many times 
before their- deaths; the valiant 
never taste of death but once,’’ 
will be a cooling poultice to many 
hysterical fears in the days ahead. 

Insidious and costly is the in¬ 
temperance of small annoyances. 
We often want to show our im¬ 
portance by being fastidious. An 
acquaintance whose business causes 
him to travel much and eat often 
in hotels starts practically every 
day by battling a waiter on the 
point of three-and-a-half-minute 
eggs. If the egg is cooked half a 
minute either side of this mark he 
loses his temper. He quarrels with 
his stenographer about minor era¬ 
sures on a letter; he fumes when he 
has to wait 40 seconds for an eleva¬ 
tor, and fidgets when a friend is two 
minutes late for an appointment. 
His favorite pastime is “checking 
up’’ on household and office mat¬ 
ters outside his province, thus pro¬ 
viding tinder for arguments. His 
daily marathon of petty irritations , 
has the cumulative effect of pro¬ 
ducing high blood pressure and 



WHAT IS YOUR INTEMPERANCE? 


J941 

nervous exhaustion — as danger¬ 
ous, says Dr. W. C. Alvarez of the 
Mayo Clinic, as excessive smoking 
and drinking. 

There are people who have trav¬ 
eled round the world and brought 
back no vivid memories except of 
quarrels over small sums with taxi 
drivers, clerks and waiters. Con¬ 
trast these with an acquaintance 
of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s who, 
when he set out on a journey, made 
a budget of his probable expenses 
and added a certain percentage “to 
be robbed of.’* Having established 
this reserve in advance, he pro¬ 
ceeded in equanimity and peace. 

\ Thrift is an undeniable virtue 
but, like all virtues, it must be kept 
within reasonable bounds. I have 
known men with thousands of dol¬ 
lars in the bank whose stinginess 
denied their children a college edu¬ 
cation or their wives a domestic 
helper. The dogged compulsion to 
save money became a grindstone 
that bowed their shoulders prema¬ 
turely. I’ve seen housewives slaving 
themselves over the washtub to 
save a few cents on the laundry 
bill. To such people I recommend 
an occasional spending spree to 
loosen up the cords that constrict 
their pocketbooks and their hearts. 

Constant hurrying is an intemper¬ 
ance that kills in the end. Artie Mc¬ 
Govern, famous physical trainer, 
warns his middie-aged charges: 
“Never run upstairs; don’t even 
Walk up unless you havejto. Save 
your heart whenever you can.” His 


advice echoed in my ears when I 
watched overburdened members of 
Congress leaping up the Capitol 
steps to answer a roll call. In every 
session an undue number of these 
truly representative Americans die 
of heart disease. Their lives are 
hurried and worried past endurance. 

Yet dierc are, in Washington, 
notable exceptions. Jesse Jones is 
one of the slowest-moving men in 
the government; I doubt, however, 
that any man accomplishes more. 
I was with him once in his New 
York hotel while he made half a 
dozen long-distance telephone calls. 
Instead of sitting tensely on the 
edge of a chair, he relaxed on the 
bed and did several hundred million 
dollars’ worth of business. 

A favorite form of intemperance 
among Americans is violent and 
spasmodic exercise. For a man 
over 40 to pour out energy like a 
college sophomore is utter folly. 
The violent week-end of golf and 
tennis, instead of yielding relaxa¬ 
tion, may easily breed overfatigue, 
reflected in irritability, faulty judg¬ 
ment and ultimate physical disaster. 

A man with whom I play golf 
occasionally is over 50 and over¬ 
weight. When I commented on 
a noticeable improvement in his 
game, he said: “I found that 18 
holes made me tired. So I resolved 
to cut out all unnecessary eflbrt. 
If A ball is lost I will not walk 
around looking for it; I’ll drop 
another and take my penalty. If a 
putting-green is on a hill I won’t 





THE reader’s digest 


hurry up that hill. I put no more 
effort into the game than is actually 
required. That is why I am relaxed 
and playing better.” Needless to 
add, he will live longer too. 

Hectic dashing about for enter¬ 
tainment is an endemic form of 
American intemperance. We all know 
people who apparently cannot sit 
alone or with members of their own 
family for an evening of self-enter¬ 
tainment. Thev must rush off to a 
movie or bridge party to benumb 
their intemperate craving for ex¬ 
citement. “When a man goes into 
company for entertainment, he de¬ 
scends,” observes Thoreau. And 
too frequently he frays already tat¬ 
tered nerves that should be knitted 


up with rest and solitude. A touch 
of self-discipline here might bring 
us back to the sweetly temperate 
habit of sitting down long enough 
to read a book — Thoreau’s Walden^ 
for instance, the bible of calm self- 
sufficiency. 

To discover your private form of 
intemperance is a task that requires 
.searching self-analysis. The old mo¬ 
nastic habit of a periodic “ex¬ 
amination of conscience” would 
undoubtedly benefit the least and 
greatest anjong us. For only by 
intent self-scrutiny can we see and 
rectify the intemperances which 
make our lives ugly and inefficient 
and may lead us prematurely to the 
grave. 


Sound Investment 


R adio -phonograph-recorder sets, which 
^ combine practically all features of 
a radio broadcasting station, are en¬ 
abling people to hear how their voices 
sound to other people — a salutary and 
not always pleasant experience. The re¬ 
corders cost as little as $40 to $50 each; 
paper records at ten cents each can be 
used for temporary recordings. The ma¬ 
chines, sold in thousands throughout 
the country, are used in many schools to 
teach enunciation and to correct speech 
defects; politicians are learning what 
their constituents have been enduring; 
actors and singers are recording their 
work for study and improvement. 

The sets are fun, too, and are fast be¬ 


coming the modern family album. 
When little /ane speaks her first piece or 
baby is learning to talk, their words can 
be indelibly recorded. Records of com¬ 
ment and explanation can be synchro¬ 
nized with home movies; amateur ac¬ 
tors are forming groups to record 
drama; and one host concealed the mi¬ 
crophone in a centerpiece at dinner and 
afterward played the record of the con¬ 
versation. 

The machines will also record regular 
broadcast programs which you wish 
to hear again; and if you desire to 
entertain along with the professionals, 
you may add your own gags to those of ' 
Jack Benny or Kay Kyser.— T. E. Mutphy 



From a chance phrase cante a unique utganhtatioA ' ' 
that dispenses cheer to those who need it most 


Flowers for the Flowerless 

Condensed from Woman’s Day 
Leigh Mitchell Hodges 


F rom an office in Philadel¬ 
phia’s City Hall a woman 
directs, without pay, 4000 vol¬ 
unteer workers in a unique activity 
— giving away flowers. Last year 
41 ,000 baskets of blossoms were dis¬ 
tributed to hospitals, piisons and 
homes for the aged, crippled and 
blind. 

Early.of a summer morning jny 
wife cuts an armful of flowers from 
our suburban garden. They go to 
the city on the 9:27 train, the bag¬ 
gage car of which is packed with 
flowers. By midmorning the pave¬ 
ment in front of Philadelphia’s old 
Municipal Court, the central dis¬ 
tributing point, becomes a gar¬ 
den of many colors. From here 
the baskets of blossoms are taken 
to 123 institutions and to shut-ins 
all over the city. The unique organ¬ 
ization responsible for this spread¬ 
ing of cheer is Flowers for the Flow¬ 
erless, directed by Mrs. Ruth 
Strawbridge. 

“You’d hardly believe the ex¬ 
citement caused by the weekly visit 
of the Flowers for the Flowerless 
worker,” the superintendent of a 
home for aged couples told me. 
“They grab like children,'^rade for 


their favorite kinds, then spend 
hours telling each other of long-ago 
happenings brought to mind by this 
or that flower. Recently one old 
lady who was given a moss rose re¬ 
called that she had carried a bunch 
of them at her wedding, and the 
other inmates arranged a party 
for her. I wish the giver of that 
rose could have seen how much 
happiness it caused.” 

The flowers give esp>ecial joy to 
the blind, who love their fragrance. 
Doctors believe the cheering effect 
of flowers aids patients’ recovery. 
When a few sprays of trailing arbu¬ 
tus were given to an old man from 
the country whose listlessness had 
distressed the hospital staff, he 
said, “Oh, thank you, ma’am; they 
remind me of days when I didn’t 
know what trouble was,” The flow¬ 
ers marked a turning point in his 
response to treatment. “Maybe 
more flowers should be included in 
the pharmacopoeia,” said his doc¬ 
tor. 

The nurse in charge of a mental 
ward claimed a bunch of pansies 
for Mary — a 14-year-old girl who 
had lost the urge to live. All at¬ 
tempts to interest her in anything 


Copyri]^ ig4/y Stores Pub. C®., /«/■., rg W. 44 J/., N. T. C. 
\lVOman's Day^ September, '41) 


9 ^ 



92 


THE reader’s digest 


had been met with, “Nobody cares 
for me — let me alone.” The pan¬ 
sies brought a glimmer of pleasure 
to her eyes. As the worker turned to 
go, Mary called, “Those little faces 
are talking to me. They care!” That 
afternoon she asked for something 
to sew; gradually her interests 
broadened until finally she was 
restored to normal. 

Two years ago a boy who had 
been a problem to his parents was 
badly hurt in an automobile acci¬ 
dent. He paid no attention to the 
first bouquet placed by his hospital 
bed. The second had buds that were 
just opening, and these caught his 
eye. Slowly his interest in flowers 
grew and the day before his dis¬ 
charge he said, “Tm goin* to grow 
those things!” He asked a florist 
for unsalable flower plants and 
started a bed in his parents* tiny 
back yard. The florist became inter¬ 
ested and gave the formerly incor¬ 
rigible youngster a job as helper; 
now the boy says he’s going to be a 
botanist. 

A man who has a small trucking 
business was so pleased by flowers 
given him in the hospital that he 
collects them from homes along his 
route; last summer he brought 800 
buckets of blooms to headquarters. 
A bookbinder, after a hospital so¬ 
journ, got permission to make gar¬ 
dens in three vacant lots near his 
home, and he and his neighbors 
have raised flowers for the flower- 
less ever since. A tinsmith, dis¬ 


charged from a hospital, told his 
customers about the organization 
and agreed to count it part of his 
payment if they would donate flow¬ 
ers. For several years he has been a 
substantial source of supply. 

Through distribution to children 
in hospitals, interest in flowers has 
spread to the bleak areas of the 
city where flowers were almost un¬ 
known. Now seeds donated by 
Philadelphia growers are given out 
for pot planting or small gardens. 

The Flowers for the Flowerless 
idea was originated by Samuel S. 
Fleisher, a Philadelphia philan¬ 
thropist. In the slum district where 
he had started his Graphic Sketch 
Club,* Mr. Fleisher noted how ea¬ 
gerly the neighborhood youngsters 
treasured the blooms given them at 
club parties. One spring afternoon 
some years ago a group of women 
visited the club, and in telling them 
of the children’s interest he re¬ 
marked that some way should be 
found to bring flowers to the flow¬ 
erless. 

That phrase struck home; several 
weeks later these women started a 
small organization. Interest grew, 
and in 1937 Flowers for the Flower¬ 
less was chartered as a nonprofit 
association — though you’d have a 
hard time finding a member, worker, 
or any one of its thousands of bene¬ 
ficiaries who wouldn’t say that it’s 
a highly profitable one. 

*See “Every Man His Own Ardst," The 
Reader’s Digest, May, ’41. 



C New wonders in the operating nxnn 


Surgeon^s Progress 

Condensed from Hygeia 

\ 

\ 

I 

^ Lois Mattox Miller 

S WIFT and spectacular as has sizes he poured melted dextrose 
been recent progress in medi- sugar. When these sugar sticks 
cal discovery, surgery has hardened, he cut them into desired 
I quietly kept step. Every day 'sur- lengths, removed the tubing, and 
I geons are performing operations coated them with a gelatine that 
I impossible a short while ago. Here becomes soluble at body tempera- 
I are a few of the milestones surgery ture. Now the surgeon operating on 
t has recently passed in its quest for a blood vessel merely clamps off the 
\ surer, safer ways to banish pain and blood supply, slips the two ends of 
prolong life. the vein over one of these sugar 

*-tT\ • •€•*>£ rr • proper diameter, stitches 

* The Darning Kgg for V eins the ends together and removes the 

OR YEARS one of the surgeon’s clamps. The blood stream dis- 

most difficult tasks was to solves the rod in one minute or less 

; stitch together the limp, delicate after circulation is reinstated. 

^ ends of a severed blood vessel. Last June Sidney Smith re- 
I Last year this problem engaged the ceived his M.D. and began intern- 

! ! attention of young Sidney Smith, ship with honors rare among young 
J then a third-year medical student doctors: he had received a high 

i at the University of Chicago. He professional award and had seen 

* decided that what the surgeon his paper describing the “surgical 
needed was something similar to darning egg” published in the dis- 
, the china egg which his grand- tinguished Archives of Surgery. 

’ mother used when darning socks. « , - n aii 

, With such an implement to hold Vitalium — The Friendly Alloy 

the vein smooth and in natural yNjURiES or infections often de¬ 
tubular form, a neat job of stitch- stroy the hard ivory-smooth 
ing could be done. But what was to cartilage that lines the socket of the 
become of the “egg” after it was hip joint and allows the thighbone 
sewed up inside the blood vessel? to glide freely against it. The result 
Young Smith emerged from the is a painful, crippling condition in 
laboratory with the answer. Into which bone and socket unite solidly 
sterilized rubber tubes of various and deprive the joint of motion. It 

Copyright American Medical Assn.^ $35 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, Hi. 

{Hygeia, August, ’4/) 93 




94 

is futile to separate the bones by 
operation because they reunite long 
before nature forms new cartilage. 

Dr. M. N. Smith-Petersen, Chief 
Orthopedic Surgeon of the Massa¬ 
chusetts General Hospital, rea¬ 
soned that if, after removing the 
bony growth, he could slip some 
sort of cup over the head of the 
thighbone, regrowth of bone could 
be prevented and in time new 
cartilage would be formed. Then, 
later, a second operation could be 
performed to remove the cup. 

Dr. Smith-Petersen first tried a 
glass cup but it invariably broke 
under the patient’s weight; cellu¬ 
loids, plastics and metals all proved 
unsatisfactory. Three years ago, a 
dentist told Dr. Smith-Petersen 
about a remarkable new metal al¬ 
loy called vitalium, developed by 
Dr. Charles S. Venable of San An¬ 
tonio, Texas. Vitalium is 65 per¬ 
cent cobalt, 30 percent chromium, 
and 5 percent molybdenum. Unlike 
other metals, it can be buried deep 
in the body without irritating the 
tissues. 

Dr. Smith-Petersen inserted his 
first vitalium hip-cup in 193B. 
Since then, the operation has been 
repeated hundreds of times by 
other surgeons. Within a few days 
the patient can move his leg with¬ 
out discomfort; within two months 
he is walking easily on a cane or 
crutches and soon can discard them. 

Dr. Smith-Petersen had to make 
one happy revision in his plan; 
since vitalium is completely 


September 

“friendly” to human flesh, the cup 
need never be removed — eliminat¬ 
ing the second operation. At the 
Mayo Clinic, vitalium is now the 
only metal used in bone surgery. 

Nature*s *‘Nerve Glue** 

ERVE CELLS do not multiply 
and replace themselves the 
way other cells of the body do; 
when nerves are severed by injury 
or surgery the stumps must be 
sewed together so that their tiny 
tendrils can ^reunite the fibers. 
Nerves are ill suited to needlework, 
and even for an expert surgeon this 
is a delicate and difficult job. 

Last September two Oxford zool¬ 
ogists, working under a grant from 
the Rockefeller Foundation, worked 
out a technique which may do 
away with nerve stitching entirely. 
They packed arterial blood from a 
chicken in ice for 10 minutes, and 
then spun it in a centrifuge to pro¬ 
duce a sticky “mucilage.” Nerve 
stumps are held together, this 
plasma is poured over them, and in 
less than 10 minutes a firm jelly is 
formed which binds the ends to¬ 
gether securely .This “nerve glue” 
lasts just long enough to allow the 
tissues to form a perfect union, 
then dissolves and is absorbed by 
the body. 

Heparin^ The Slood Solvent 
NE OF the mysteries of blood is 
its tendency to dot when ex¬ 
posed to air. Without this self-seal¬ 
ing element — the tiny, sticky 


THE reader’s digest 





surgeon’s progress 


95 


1941 

platelets in the blood stream — 
people might bleed to death from 
even minor cuts, and all surgery 
would be impossible. 

However, clotting sometimes 
causes trouble. Platelets adhere to 
slight flaws on the inner walls of 
blood vessels and form clots that 
block circulation. An operation to 
remove such clots often only com¬ 
plicated the condition, since the 
seam in the repaired vein or artery 
formed a crevice ideal for further 
platelet accumulations. 

In 1916 Johns Hopkins investi¬ 
gators extracted from dog liver a 
substance called heparin which 
tended to slow up blood coagul^:^ 
tion, but it was too toxic for use 
on human beings. The Canadian 
doctors, C. H. Best (co-discoverer 
of insulin), A. F. Charles, D. H. 
Scott and Gordon Murray, revived 
the experiments at the University 
of Toronto and found heparin in 
ox lungs, in a form which could 
be made nontoxic. 


Within the past year it has be¬ 
come possible for surgeons armed 
with solutions of heparin to operate 
successfully on clotted blood ves¬ 
sels, even in forms of clotting 
which formerly caused death in 
over 85 percent of all cases. Now, 
after the clot is removed and the 
blood vessel sutured, heparin is al¬ 
lowed to drip into the blood stream 
through a hollow needle inserted 
near the suture. Danger of clot 
formation thus is removed and 
healing takes place in due course. 

Heparin is also being used ex¬ 
perimentally to treat the formerly 
incurable bacterial infection of the 
inner lining of the heart called en¬ 
docarditis. In this disease, clots 
clutter up the tissues surrounding 
the heart valves and prevent white 
blood cells from reaching and 
destroying the bacteria. Now doc¬ 
tors hope to conquer endocarditis 
by using heparin to clear the way, 
followed by sulfanilamide to help 
the blood cdls clear up the infection. 



Signs of the Times 

€[ Cryptic sign in the window of a comer drugstore in a famous southern 
city: If you haven’t anything to do, don’t do it here. 

€1 Advertisement on a Cleveland movie theater: Free 5ft candy bar to all 
children leaving before 6 p.m. — develand Plaia Dealer 

€l Sign on Route ly, near Middletown^ Connecticut: 

Sanibel Hospital 
^ Maternity 

Chronic and Convalescent 


— 751# New Yorkff 



PICTURESQUE Speech and patter... 


Buttercups, making sunlight of 
their own . . . When a breeze came, “ 
the leaves lapped up the silence like 
the tongues of little creatures drinking 
(Mary Webb) . . . Watcr tobogganing 
over a fall (Robert Kastner) . . . Wind 
huddled the trees. (Robert Louis Stevenson) 

The cat chose a sunny spot and 
melted on the floor (d. b. Wiicox) . . . 

A motli, hobnobbing with its shadow. 

(Vladimir NaUikov) 

A FACE smudged with fatigue (Ernest 
Buckler) ... A faint leaf-curl of a 
smile. (Herbert Krause) 

The slow honey of complete hap¬ 
piness poured through me. 

(Armine von Tempski) 

She has lots of wile power (Mr*. 
Howaid Hommer) . . . Hc’s a victim of 
mental languish (Mrs. R. E. Osborne) . . . 

She has delusions of glamour. 

• He must have a sixth sense — 
there’s no sign of the other five. 

(Bciroe Lay, Jr.) 

He has two chins, going on three . 
(M. Menton) ... A large woman, who 
seemed not so much dressed as up¬ 
holstered. (James M. Barrie) 

With her it’s no sooner done than , 

said. (Daisy Baker Hay) 

She believes the only way to hold /■ 
a man is down. (Lee Shippey) 


For three quarters of an hour lie 
lay awake all night. (.Punch) 

Ladies in slacks 

Should not turn their backs. 

(Gwyneth Cobb) 

I LEARNED to ski in only ten .sittings. 

(Claudette Colbert) 

He’s not himself today — and it’s 
a great improvement. (Cbi. ^oopnagfc) 

As HAPPY as the girl who dreamed 
she went to Hollywood and lived in a 
house with seven Gables. (Hugh Herbert) 

Some people’s voices are hard to 
extinguish over the telephone. 

(Ilclen P. Esubrook) 

Never judge a book by its movie. 

(J. W. Fjigan) 

T love to see her laugh. So much 
of her has a good time. (ai I’tarce) 

Success used to indicate superior 
ability, but now people merely won¬ 
der what vitamin you’re taking. 

(Robert Quillen) 

A night club, where the tables 
were reserved and the guests weren’t. 

(Fred Casper) 

A man’s method of packing is to 
strangle bis clothes and bury them. 

(Louise Redfield Peattie) 

It is good to lie in bed and let 
sleep’s drowsy wind blow out the 

candles of thought. (Emest BucUer) 


TO THE FIRST CONTRIBUTOR OF EACH ACCEPTED ITEM of Clthcr PattCf Or ' PictUrCSqUC SpCCch 3 

payment of $5 is made upon publication. In all cases the source must be given. An additional pay¬ 
ment is made to the author, except for items originated by the sender. Contributions cannot be 
acknowledged or returned, but every item is carefully considered. 

ADDRESS patter EOn'OR, BOX 605, PLEASANTVIIXE, N. Y. 




You Can^t 

Do Business with Hitler 

A CONDENSATION FROM THE BOOK BY 

Douglas Miller 


Probably no book on the world crisis has received so many unsolicited 
endorsements from prominent Americans as this one by Douglas Miller, 
now a professor at the University of Denver, who was for 15 years American 
Commercial Attache in Berlin. Wendell Willkie writes: “Every person 
«• seeking to understand the business aspects of either a negotiated peace or a 
* totalitarian victory should at least cx|x>se himself to Mr. Miller’s facts.” 

' William L. Shircr, famous CBS newscaster and author of Berlin Diary, says; ^ 
' “In my time in Berlin Mr. Miller was undoubtedly the best-informed man 
in our Embassy on all aspects of life under the Nazis. His book ought to be , 
on the desk of every businessman^’In the country.” “Few books that have 
come out of Germany,” writes Sheppard Stone in the N. Y. Times Book •' 
Review, “compare with Mr. Miller’s. It should be compulsory reading.” 

Within a month after publication, You Can't Do Business with Hitler 
had forged into a cor>spicuou.s position on nonfiction best-seller lists. 


I F Hitler defeats Britain, he 
will have removed the last ob¬ 
stacle to his control over Eu¬ 
rope, Africa and Asia Minor. He 
can monopolize the resources and 
manpower of this vast area. He will 
dominate the Atlantic, the Medi¬ 
terranean, the Red Sea, and the 
Indian Ocean. If America should 
then seek to call a halt on him, 
there would be little that we could 
do. The last base of operations 
against the vitals of the Reich 
would have vanished. The Con¬ 
tinental blockade would be ended. 

Could not we in the United 
States, however, live by ourselves? 


Could we not trade with the Nazis 
instead of fighting them? 

’The answer is No! 

Because I spent 15 years in the 
service of American businessmen 
at the United States Embassy in 
Berlin — six of them under the 
Nazi regime — I think I am in a 
position to do some plain speaking 
on this subject. 

The Nazis hate the United States 
more poisonously than any other 
country. They have often said 
that there are two irreconcilable 
poles in the world; Germany, the 
pole of order, discipline, and scien¬ 
tific progress; and the United 


Copyright 1941, and published at $t.SO by Little, Brown & Co., 
J4 Beacon St., Boston, Mass. 


97 



g8 THE READER S DIGEST September 


States, the pole of democratic an¬ 
archy and decadent Christianity. 
CXir very existence disproves their 
racial and economic theories. We 
persist in printing and broadcasting 
truths which they would like to 
suppress. Above all, we alone pos¬ 
sess the loot which would make 
their world conquest worth while. 
Hitler’s victory is incomplete until 
we are brought into his world sys¬ 
tem. 

1 make these statements on the 
basis of my close association with 
Nazi leaders and of a detailed 
study of National Socialist books, 
pamphlets, and newspapers from 
the very beginning when they were 
less cautious about discussing ulti¬ 
mate objectives. These convictions 
I formed slowly under the pressure 
of overwhelming evidence. 

If the Nazis defeat Britain, they 
will surely continue the same sort 
of activity that has characterized 
them in the past. There will be no 
treaty of peace. The war will go on. 
Totalitarianism is by nature preda¬ 
tory. The whole technique of Ger¬ 
man commercial policy is one of 
exploiting the assets of others. 
Hitler dare not demobilize his ar¬ 
mies or end his war economy. He 
has promised future wars to boys 
too young to participate in the 
present struggle. He has written in 
Mein KampJ^ “The human race 
Jhas grown great in war. In peace 
it would only decay.” The fact is 
that the Nazis are not organized 
for peace. They are not prepared 


for it. They would not know what 
to do with it if it dfme. 

But just how long ^uld the 
Nazis enforce their New Oder on 
the conquered people of Europe, 
Africa, and part of Asia? I feel 
that they could achieve a stability 
which might be unbroken for cen¬ 
turies. The Nazis will control sup¬ 
plies of food, clothing, and money 
throughout the area. Noncompli¬ 
ance with their orders will mean 
starvation. 

They will jjave in their own 
hands all education, and all control 
over manufacture of airplanes, 
motor vehicles, locomotives, ships, 
munitions, and scientific instru¬ 
ments. Serfs might manufacture 
weapons for an uprising in the 
Middle Ages; but Hitler’s victims 
cannot by any coup seize the cen¬ 
ters of production of modern 
mechanized weapons. They will 
lack all means, whether intellectual 
or material, for effective revolt. 

I see no reason why a new 
Caesarism could not be maintained 
by Nazi methods just as effectively 
as the Roman emperors held to¬ 
gether their subject populations 
for nearly 500 years. The scientific 
slave state on a continental scale is 
not a dream. It is taking shape be¬ 
fore our very eyes. 

How LONG could we then main¬ 
tain our own system of liberty and 
free enterprise in the Western 
Hemisphere? Latin America will 
certainly have to fall in with the 



YOU can't do business with hitler 


99 


mi 


I^zi system. Some Nazi maps I 
Imve seen give Germany control of 
Latin America to a line north of the 
Equator, some to the Panama 
Canal, some to the Rio Grande, 
and some even include all North 
America in a new German-domi¬ 
nated world. 

Europe has been the market for 
the bulk of Latin-American prod¬ 
ucts, now piled up in warehouses 
awaiting customers. How can we 
prevent Latin America from ship¬ 
ping goods to Hitler, who will offer 
to buy everything in sight? Some 
may say, “But Europe will be so 
disorganized that it will have noth¬ 
ing to send’ in exchange.*' I want to 
point out that Hitler will have onfc' 
sort of commodity which the Latin- 
American states will desire — arms. 
The triumph of force in Europe 
will be the signal for every Latin- 
American nation to arm. They will 
fear revolution from within and 
aggression from without. And Ger¬ 
many's war equipment, bearing 
the blue ribbon of victory, will be 
ottered to them at attractive prices 
in enormous quantities. It is cer¬ 
tain to be snapped up by Latin- 
American republics waiting anx¬ 
iously to get something in exchange 
for their surplus raw products. 

This is only a continuation of 
successful Nazi tactics. For years 
the export of war equipment was 
one of Germany's best trading as¬ 
sets. In fact, Hitler is glad to arm 
even his possible enemies. In the 
campaign against Greece, the ad¬ 


vancing German soldiers were 
killed by German bullets. But Hit¬ 
ler didn’t mind. Greece had paid 
for German munitions in raw 
materials which were worth more 
to Hitler than the lives of some of 
his soldiers. 

Unfortunately for us, there arje 
several Latin-American countries 
which must remain outside our 
trade system, because their com¬ 
modities are directly competitive 
with ours. These countries will have 
no choice but to enter Hitler’s 
system of bilateral agreements. 
As soon as increased trade with 
Europe has reached the point 
where it is absolutely vital to these 
Latin-American countries, the Ger¬ 
mans will insist that all Latin- 
American trade with the United 
States be stopped, that American 
branches in these countries be 
closed down, and that American 
salesmen and executives be sent 
home. Such tactics are precisely 
the ones which Germany has suc¬ 
cessfully used in Eastern Europe 
for several years. 

Further, I believe that a Hitler 
victory over Great Britain would 
be signalized by a succession of 
Nazi-inspired revolutions in Latin- 
American countries, exploding like 
a packet of firecrackers. The 
United States cannot call out the 
Marines to stop Mussolini from 
sending his daughter on a friendly 
visit to the president of a Latin- 
American republic, bringing with 
her baggage 50 disguised military 



TOO THE reader’s DIGEST September 


and aviation experts to start the 
training of Na/i Bunds under as¬ 
sumed names. 

We cannot forbid revolutions in 
South America. We cannot inter¬ 
fere without arousing resentment, 
and thus bringing about the very 
condition which we hoped to pre¬ 
vent. Already Nazi-sponsored revo¬ 
lutions have been attempted in 
several countries to the south of us. 
We must abandon the belief that 
we can hold back the Nazi tide 
from the New World after Hitler’s 
victory in the Old. 

If Hitler wins, we can expect 
our economic picture to be some¬ 
what as follows; An expanded war 
industry which we must maintain 
for North American and hemi¬ 
sphere defense; a growing surplus 
of cotton, grain, and tobacco, for 
which no export market can be 
found; a growing shortage of cer¬ 
tain critical materials, which up to 
now have been secured from 
abroad. 

Our foreign trade will come al¬ 
most to a standstill. At the present 
time two thirds of it is with the 
British Empire. We have placed 
that proportion of our eggs in one 
basket. Hitler bids fair to smash 
both basket and eggs. What is left 
of our foreign trade will be only 
the small portion which goes to 
Ginada and the Caribbean area. 
We shall have to find new sources 
of income to take care of the vast 
number of workmen and industries 


previously employed on sales to 
Britain, Europe, Soutl^ America 
and possibly Japan. We shall be 
forced either to trade with Hitler 
or to make a sudden readjustment 
of our economy which is bound to 
be painful and distressing to mil¬ 
lions of Americans. 

But if we try to trade with Hit/er, 
Hitler will out-trade us. 

In my office in Berlin I kept 
framed on the wall a motto from 
an editorial in Hitler’s newspaper, 
the VolkischeT’ Beobaebter^ which 
read like this; “Justice and good 
nature should be limited to one’s 
own people.” I used to look at 
this motto from time to time so 
as not to forget that it was useless 
to expect the Nazis to treat us 
fairly. 

An American company operating 
a large plant in the Rhineland 
had made heavy shipments from 
their German factories to Brazil. It 
so happened that Brazil, like Ger¬ 
many, had exchange restrictions, 
so that the money owed for these 
shipments was not flowed to be sent 
from Brazil to Germany. The 
American company, however, was 
rather pleased to have their money 
in Brazil, which was closer to the 
United States. 

One day the German government 
gave the firm’s officials two weeks 
to get into Germany the money 
covering their shipments to Brazil 
or else every one of the Americans 
in the German branch would be 
put into jail. After considerable 



YOU can’t do business with hitler 


lot 


1941 


negotiation, the parent company 
in the United States was forced to 
send a very large sum to Germany 
to cover these shipments, and now 
has the money tied up in both 
Brazil and Germany. 

One day before the expiration of 
our commercial treaty with Ger¬ 
many, containing a promise of 
equal treatment, I visited the For¬ 
eign Office to protest unfair, dis¬ 
crimination against U. S. exporters 
of lard. The Foreign Office official 
explained that our country had 
received a quota of 40 percent 
of its average sales to Germany for 
the last three years, and that every 
other country was treated the 
same. Upon this, the American 
who accompanied me brought out 
the text of a secret German agree¬ 
ment by which Denmark had been 
receiving a quota of 65 percent 
compared to 40 percent given us. 
The German official appeared only 
slightly embarrassed. He explained 
that things were done that way 
nowadays. This was the only an¬ 
swer which a high official of the 
German government could give 
when his government had been 
caught in a flat lie and when their 
signature on our commercial treaty 
had been flagrantly dishonored. 

The Nazi economists have woriced 
out a thoroughly dishonest method 
of living on their debts. They ne¬ 
gotiated for the entire crops of 
many smaller countries at .attrac¬ 
tive prices, and blandly explained 


that of course they were not paying 
cash, but that the little country 
would certainly obtain from Ger¬ 
many in payment a wide variety of 
suitable articles. 

The small one-crop countries 
proved to be easy meat for the 
Germans. For example, the South 
African government, under pressure 
from domestic wool growers, sold 
its entire wool clip to Germany 
against future delivery of German 
locomotives, automotive equip¬ 
ment, and similar commodities. 
Unfortunately, as time elapsed the 
South Africans were unable to get 
deliveries of German automobiles 
at prices in line with cars offered 
from the United States. German 
locomotive plants seemed unable 
to deliver equipment which would 
suit the South African railroads, 
and the export of different types 
of electrical equipment, machin¬ 
ery, and tools was prohibited, as 
these products were needed for the 
German army. So, when 12 months 
had elapsed, the wool sales still 
remained on the books, and little 
had been taken by South Africa 
in payment. Nevertheless, the 
second and third years* wool clip 
was marketed in the same way as 
the first. Germany had obtained 
its wool, woven it into uniforms for 
the army; and the South Africans 
were still whistling for suitable 
German products in payment. 

By such methods the Germans 
obtained huge supplies of commodi¬ 
ties. The German Ministry of Eco- 



102 THE reader's digest September 


nomics then used these commodi¬ 
ties for resale in cash markets. The 
price didn’t matter, because the 
goods were obtained on credit, 
sold for cash; the cash could be 
used for propaganda or the pur¬ 
chase of war materials, and the bills 
would not be paid anyway until 
they were obliterated in the next 
war. 

In this way Germany resold Bra¬ 
zilian coffee, Bulgarian tobacco, 
Greek currants, etc., and for them 
obtained cash with which to buy 
airplane parts from the United 
States and Great Britain. The rep¬ 
resentative of an American firm 
was shown in Hamburg two shijv. 
loads of Argentine beef, obtained 
by Germany on a credit basis at 
a price of eight cents a pound. The 
ships were never unloaded, but 
were redirected to Rotterdam, 
where the meat was sold to the 
Dutch for cash at five cents a 
pound, or a loss of three cents a 
pound. These funds were then used 
to purchase a large quantity of 
straw which the German army 
apparently needed quickly. 

Thus it has been repeatedly 
proved impossible to have straight¬ 
forward business relations with the 
Nazis. Their trade methods are 
political and military in purpose, 
and shamelessly unfair or fraudu¬ 
lent in practice. 

Americans who believe that we 
could have satisfactory trade re¬ 
lations with a victorious Germany 
^ might read two quotations from the 


March 1941 German-American 
Commerce Bulletin. An editorial 
says: “Germany coulSi easily buy 
from the United States each year 
three to four million bales of cot¬ 
ton, large quantities of wheat, 
canned meat, fruits, copper, and a 
great variety of finished products.” 
But on page 12 an official article 
by Erich Neumann, Secretary of 
State in the Nazi Ministry of Eco¬ 
nomics, blurts out this statement 
of German v’s real economic aims: 

e 

“All wc wish,to do is to make our¬ 
selves independent of the outside 
world in the domains of foodstuffs 
and indispensable industrial ma¬ 
terials. Other products, particu¬ 
larly those we can do without in 
times of emergency, will continue 
to be obtained from foreign sources, 
in exchange for our own surplus 
production of manufactured arti¬ 
cles.” 

In other words, the Nazis do not 
propose to purchase foods from us- 
Neither do they propose to import 
essential industrial materials, least 
of all from us. How in the world can 
we expect to sell cotton, wheat or 
copper when every one of these 
items is blocked by the Nazis on 
the basis of national policy? 

What about the possibilities of 
barter with a victorious Germany? 
Probably no American has had the 
opportunity to see as much negotia¬ 
tion for barter deals with the Nazis 
as I have. To beg^n with, the usual 
barter ratio for our commodities 



YOU can't do business with hitler 


los 


mi 

was set at three to one. For ex¬ 
ample, American walnut growers 
tried to arrange a barter of 1100,000 
worth of walnuts but found they 
would have to buy $300,000 worth 
of German burlap bags and barbed 
wire in exchange. This meant that 
the walnut growers here would 
have to invest $200,000 in cash, 
and hope to be able to recover this 
money by the resale of the bags 
and wire in the United States. 

In the case of manufactured 
articles, the barter ratio was set 
at an even higher figure. The best 
terms on which the German Min¬ 
istry of Economics would allow 
American automobile compani^^s 
to bring in cars and parts in ex¬ 
change for German goods were in 
the ratio of one to ten. In other 
words, an American automobile 
company which sold the Nazis 
$100,000 worth of cars and parts 
would have to purchase $1,000,000 
worth of German goods! 

Furthermore, in any barter ar¬ 
rangement the price set on German 
goods was usually high, while the 
price set on the American goods 
was arbitrarily low. For example, I 
worked hard in 1937 to barter 
10,000 tons of West Coast prunes 
for an assortment of German prod¬ 
ucts, but the German government 
would allow only three cents per 
pound for our prunes delivered in 
Hamburg. Even the lowest grade 
prunes were worth more than that 
on the Pacific Coast. 

In order to save something from 


the wreck of their German hold¬ 
ings, many American companies 
have been forced to accept mer¬ 
chandise which was either unsala¬ 
ble or so different from their usual 
line of business (like the barbed 
wire offered the walnut growers) 
that they could hardly hope to 
put it on the market except at 
considerable loss. In this category 
come the 8,000,000 mouth organs 
which an oil company took in pay¬ 
ment for petroleum, and the 200,000 
canaries which a manufacturing 
company got in exchange for a 
large press for making automobile 
bodies. 

It is not as if the Germans were 
unable to pay their debts. The 
German government suspends in¬ 
terest payments on bonds held in 
the United States until the market 
price of the bonds falls to five cents 
on the dollar. At that point the 
Germans quietly buy up the bonds, 
profiting by their own default. 
In the same way the German gov¬ 
ernment has claimed to be unable 
to allow payment for American 
merchandise, shipped long ago to 
Germany, but it is quite able to 
finance propaganda in foreign coun¬ 
tries. The Nazis learned from Dr. 
Schacht to run up their debts as 
high as possible and not worry 
about them because they aren't 
planning to pay anyhow. 

Another trouble in dealing 
with the Nazis is that we never 
know their last word. Witness the 



104 

experience of an American soft- 
drink firm which had a satisfactory 
business in Germany for a number 
of years. After Hitler came into 
power, the company began to run 
into trouble. German doctors certi¬ 
fied that the American product was 
“injurious to health.” The com¬ 
pany approached me and said, 
“We understand that there is a 
way of arranging matters with the 
National Socialist Party head¬ 
quarters.” I passed this on to 
party headquarters, and a few 
days later a young man in party 
uniform came into my office. He 
explained that nothing would please 
him better than to assist this Amer¬ 
ican company. “In fact,” said he, 
“I am dready helping 17 other 
companies.” 

“Just how is that arranged?” I 
asked. 

“The company should first of all 
appoint me a member of their 
Board of Directors in Germany.” 

“How much would this cost?” 

“Eight hundred dollars a month.” 

The company agreed to the pro¬ 
posal, and their troubles miracu¬ 
lously stopped for a while. 

But blackmailers always raise 
their price. Another Nazi official 
made a new ruling — namely, that 
this American soft drink was Jew¬ 
ish and would pollute any pure 
Aryans that might drink it. 

The company came to me a sec¬ 
ond time, and I proposed that we 
consult Dr, Robert Ley, head of 
the German Labor Front. Dr., Ley 


September 

suggested that a Nazi delegation 
visit the United Sta^s, at the 
American firm’s expense, in order 
to investigate whether the product 
was, in fact, Jewish. This was done, 
and an official report duly certified 
that it could be enjoyed by the 
purest Aryans without racial con¬ 
tamination. 

Unfortunately, the official who 
had made the first ruling came 
out with another to the effect that, 
though the beverage was not Jew¬ 
ish, it was ^nevertheless foreign 
and could not be consumed by any 
good Nazi. I then explained to the 
company that they might approach 
this official and find out how much 
it would cost to have him change 
his ruling; but the course I recom¬ 
mended was that they close their 
German business and go back to 
the United States. 

Such are the alternatives which 
present themselves to businessmen 
who try to deal with the Nazis. 

In case of a Hitler victory, just 
how can American business expect 
to conduct ordinary day-to-^ay 
relations with a government that 
consistently practices blackmail, 
that extorts every advantage for 
itself alone, that dodges the pay¬ 
ment of its debts and refuses to be 
bound by any contract it makes? 

The Nazis, if triumphant in 
Europe, will ruthlessly attack our 
way pf life with every form of 
economic pressure at their com¬ 
mand. wither Funk, President 


THE reader's digest 



YOU can’t do business with hitler 


1941 

of the Reich shank and Minister 
of Economics, stated officially that 
after the war no private inter¬ 
national trade would be permitted, 
that all trade must be between 
governments. Inevitably, then, the 
United States government must 
extend its control over business in 
order to present a stiff front to the 
Nazi pressure. 

If we attempt to meet the Nazis* 
trade war with their own weapons 
we shall have to upset our whole 
economy as we know it now. The 
American government would have 
to enter into all sorts of trading 
enterprises. It would have to swap 
stocks of American goods with the' 
Germans at fixed prices. This 
would lead to a forced allocation 
of the imported commodities to 
private individuals and firm.s in the 
United States. A quick result 
would surely be the introduction of 
fixed prices here covering the im¬ 
ported commodities and those 
which we exchanged. 

How can we maintain our sys¬ 
tem of free enterprise if our govern¬ 
ment is thus forced directly into 
trade with the outside world and 


consequently into drastic control 
of business at home? We should 
have to create a bureaucratic dom¬ 
ination over individual citizens. 
We should be well on the way to 
State Socialism. 

Over the long future there would 
be at best a state of undeclared 
war between our world and Hit- 
ler*s, and we would have to main¬ 
tain interminably a ruinous mili¬ 
tary establishment. Such a long- 
range hemisphere antagonism would 
bring with it a revolution in Ameri¬ 
can life. It would tend to shatter 
our social institutions, and it 
would drastically revise our hopes 
for a fuller and freer existence. 
America would pass from a civilized 
era into a long night of siege. 

This picture of the United States 
left alone in a friendless totalitarian 
world, forced to abandon its demo¬ 
cratic economy under Nazi pres¬ 
sure, need never become a reality. 
We have still time — but not too 
much time — to intervene effec¬ 
tively against Hitler before he con¬ 
quers Britain. What we do now will 
determine our economic history 
for years to come. 


Hf. 

(Srthasm 

^ Samuel F. B. Morse, who was an eminent painter before he in¬ 
vented telegraphy, once asked a physician friend to look at his paint¬ 
ing of a man in death agony. “Well,” Morse inquired after the doctor 
h^ scrutinized it carefully, “what is your opinion?” 

“Malaria,” said the doctor. 



Learning in swingtime — the fantastic era of 
ballyhoo and hoopla at L.S.U. under Huey Long 


Every Student a King 

Condensed from “Louisiana Hayride” 
Harnett’T, Kane 


I T IS UNLIKELY that there will 
ever be, outside of Hollywood 
sets, another college like Loui¬ 
siana State University under Huey 
Long. As Governor, he moved to 
take it over in 1930, “like any 
other damned department." He 
not only honeycombed the faculty 
with his favorites, and Longized 
the university’s business affairs, 
from placing insurance to buying 
ice cream cones; he also took a pro¬ 
found sentimental interest in the 
school, made it his “baby," and 
created an unparalleled spectacle of 
academic hoopla and ballyhoo, of 
learning in swingtime. 

From a small, moderately im¬ 
pecunious institution of 1600 stu¬ 
dents, L.S.U. grew under Huey and 


Harnett T. Kane was a sophomore at 
Tulane when Louisiana’s Kin^sh, Huey 
I.«ng, splashed into the gubernatorial wa¬ 
ters in 1928. That same year Mr. Kane be¬ 
came a reporter on the New Orleans Item- 
I’ribune^ the while continuing his work at 
the University. He followed the tumultuous 
career of the Long machine through the 
years. One of his major assignments was to 
cover the trials of the machine’s leaders 
when they were finally brought to justice. 
Mr. Kane, now 30, is still with the Item- 
tribune. 


his heirs to an enrollment of 8500, 
making it 13th in size among Amer¬ 
ican universities — “right behind 
Harvard." More than 40 new 
buildings went up, many of them 
with federal money, and there was 
a WPA-dug lake for canoeing. The 
students had as a mascot a Bengal 
tiger, housed in a ^12,000 glass- 
enclosed, air-conditioned cage, with 
a trailer for use in football travels. 
Two planes, acquired as part of the 
athletic equipment, scoured the 
country seeking football beef on the 
hoof, and when the school year was 
over they carried the letter men 
home. 

Huey had three reasons for his 
phenomenal interest in L.S.U.: sen¬ 
timental, practical, vindictive. He 
had always wanted to go to the 
state university, the country boy’s 
dream. Now he enjoyed an enor¬ 
mous soul-soothing satisfaction in 
running things on the campus; 
throwing homely greetings — “Hi 
ya, boys," “Hi ya, cutie," — to 
the admiring students who always 
thronged round him when he ap¬ 
peared, and frequently ordering 
them to “Help yourself— on me" 
in the campus store. Too, he was 



EVERY STUDENT A KING 




using this state university at Baton 
Rouge as a showcase for his activi^ 
ties, a sounding board for his argu¬ 
ments. Finally, he was getting even 
with Tulane University at New Or¬ 
leans, which had refused him an 
honorary degree. Huey swore he’d 
reduce Tulane to a little red 
schoolhouse. 

G>llegc for ail the boys and girls 
that want it was Huey’s platform, 
and to house the thousands that 
showed up the new dormitories 
were inadequate. In this emergency 
Huey noticed the empty space be¬ 
tween the sloping seats and the 
outer rim of the stadium. Some 
universities use it for soft-drinlt- 
concessions. L.S.U. used it for 
freshmen and sophomores. Con¬ 
crete, plaster and wood produced 
narrow cubicles in each of which 
four men were huddled, with two- 
decker beds. Asone reporter phrased 
it, the stadium **seats 45,000 and 
sleeps 2500.” 

Huey bought a country club for 
L.S.U., complete from locker room 
to golf links. Every student a king, 
or at least a tennis player. He or¬ 
dered a swimming pool and as con¬ 
struction was nearing comp>letion 
he strolled by. ‘‘This the longest 
anybody’s got?” No, there was one 
on the West Coast about ten feet 
longer. “Stretch it!” said the 
Kinghsh. 

A million-dt^lar Huey P. Long 
Field House popped up, with drug¬ 
store, bookshop, clubrooms; train¬ 
ing rooms for athletes. Prize play¬ 


ers were to be accommodated there, 
with the best of feeding and care, 
like blooded cattle. Someone — 
assuredly not Huey — decided that 
this might be somewhat conspicu¬ 
ous, and the boys were shifted to 
an equally luxurious but more 
secluded establishment. 

Huey wanted a good football 
team, to beat lulane and to bring 
L.S.U. into the national spotlight. 
He gave the order: buy the best 
football material available; in the 
oil fields, in the high schools, in the 
pirogue country. He helped coach 
the team himself. One night in 
Washington a sports writer was in 
Huey’s room. The Kingfish sent 
down for “22 of them little gilt 
chairs in the ballroom,” lined them 
up like two football teams, told his 
friend to “show me the Notre 
Dame shift.” 

He cried happy tears when 
L.S.U. won. He wept when it lost. 
He strode the side lines, shouted 
encouragement, beat the ground, 
seized handfuls of grass. Sometimes 
the crowd forgot the game and 
watched Huey, a better show’. Be¬ 
tween halves he gave pep talks. He 
promised the team a luxury dormi¬ 
tory atop his skyscraper Capitol if 
it won an important game. He 
offered state jobs to those who 
made touchdowns. When I'ulane 
protested some of these idiosyn¬ 
crasies, Huey sniffed: “That’s 
Tulane sportsmanship.” 

When an important game with 
Vanderbilt was scheduled at Nash- 



io8 


THE READER'S DIGEST 


September 


ville, Tenn., Huey discovered that 
few L.S.U. students could afford 
the train fare. He summoned the 
railroad officials and talked of 
sending railroad tax assessments to 
the skies if they did not show 
proper friendliness to Louisiana’s 
youth. The. phenomenal price of 
I7 per round trip to Nashville 
resulted. “Whoever ain’t got 5^7, 
lemme know.” Huey turned his 
hotel room into a distribution 
point, giving out cash to all who 
filed past him; 4000 students made 
the trip. 

Before the Rice Institute game 
in Baton Rouge Huey received 
word that the circus was coming to 
town and had a parade and an 
afternoon performance scheduled 
on the day of the game. He long- 
distanced the circus management, 
then in Texas. He wanted no fool¬ 
ishness, no performance until Sat¬ 
urday night. The management 
demurred. Huey cut the parley 
short; “I don’t think you’re a-gonna 
like Baton Rouge anyway.” “Why 
not.'*” “Did you ever try to dip a 
tiger? You got vats big enough for 
elephants?” “Wh-what do you 
mean?” “Brother, we got health 
laws in Loozyanna. The way I 
interpret ’em, every one of your 
animals will have to get dipped in 
sheep dip before they cross the 
line.” There was no afternoon 
performance. 

Huey’s football shows were spec¬ 
tacles: 2000 cadets, 200 musicians, 
50 “purple jackets” — coeds in 


white pleats and blazers — octettes 
of dancing boy and girl cheerlead¬ 
ers, and 50 sponsors in a row. And 
the star of the troupe, Huey, swing¬ 
ing, roaring, hightailing it at the 
head of the march. He led his boys 
and girls down the main streets 
of the invaded towns, razzle-daz- 
zled over the field between halves 
and hovered perilously close to the 
players during the game. 

Huey loved music, the jews’- 
harp, hillbilly band, anything ex¬ 
cept “them high-toned sympho¬ 
nies” ; and he loved his L.S.U. band 
only slightly less than his team. He 
went after both in the same way 
but in music was unhampered by 
conference rules. He increased the 
band to 175, to 200, to 210. “Music 
scholarships” were tossed about 
like football bait. Other university 
mtisical groups were scouted, neigh¬ 
borhoods scoured by ward heelers 
hunting saxophonists and piccolo 
players with a high school educa¬ 
tion. Huey spent hours with the 
bandmaster, working over arrange¬ 
ments: “Change that eighth to a' 
sixteenth; need some stomp there.” 
He crooned, he hummed themes, 
he composed Every Man a King 
with his musicians. He gave L.S.U. 
a music school that was a hear 
wonder for the South: a myriad of 
studio practice rooms, 80 grand 
pianos. “Count ’em,” begged Huey 
when he showed guests about. 

L.S.U. enrollment swelled enor¬ 
mously; but Huey planned to step it 
up even further, ta make it “the 



igp EVERY STUDENT A KING lOo 


biggest god-damned university in 
the country, maybe in the world.” 
He realized that he could not afFord 
to put many more students in con¬ 
ventional dormitories, but he en¬ 
visioned streets of barracks-like 
buildings 500 feet long, “cut up in¬ 
side with cubbyholes where a boy 
could study, with a little space to 
sleep. I’d feed ’em in buildings like 
that, too.” 

To the Kingfish, the university 
was his own. He once decided to re¬ 
ward Abe Mickal, star of the foot¬ 
ball team, by appointing him to a 
senatorial vacancy from Baton 
Rouge. Mickal fulfilled none of the 
requirements; he was under 21, a 
native of Mississippi, not a resident 
of the parish. An undergraduate 
wrote a letter to the campus 
weekly, terming Huey’s action a 
mockery of democracy. Huey was 
shown an advance copy, and or¬ 
dered the 4000 copies of the issue 
destroyed. He announced, regard¬ 
ing the editor, “I’ll fire him and all 
his family. This is my university. 
Nobody is going to criticize Huey 
Long on his money.” 

In general, however, the under¬ 
graduates were docile and made an 
excellent source of cheap patron¬ 
age. A lot of the strapping young¬ 
sters Huey was seeing through col¬ 
lege were getting to voting age and 
came from large families. So hun¬ 
dreds were “cared for” on the basis 
not of scholarship or need but of 
the political faith of their relatives 
and their ability to convince some¬ 


body that they were political 
“comers.” 

As Huey lay dying his last words 
were said to have been; “I wonder 
what’s going to happen to my poor 
boys at L.S.U.” But as the Long 
regime remained in power, and the 
university remained the darling of 
the legislature, for several years 
L.S.U. flourished even more luxuri¬ 
antly than before. Indeed, student 
affairs took on an extra flam¬ 
boyance. 

Since by obtaining political 
prominence any bright boy could 
get the promise of a state job before 
. he left the campus, undergraduate 
offices were eagerly sought. Air¬ 
planes showered the campus with 
campaign literature, and rival po¬ 
litick rallies were broken up with 
tear gas, heckling and fist fights. 

Russell Long, son of Huey, mak¬ 
ing his bow as a teen-age boss, em¬ 
phasized his candidacy by engaging 
especially selected co^s in bathing 
suits to parade with L-O-N-G 
painted on their bare backs, and 
by handing out free ice cream cones 
and loUypops to all who would 
promise to vote for him. Other 
candidates hired magicians to en¬ 
tertain the campus voters. A cheer¬ 
leader hired Negro bootblacks to 
give free shines. Acrobats and coed 
tap dancers gave a lift to torchlight 
parades. An “anonymous” candi¬ 
date called himself “The Masked 
Marvel ” and rode about the campus 
on a horse for a week in black robe 
and hood, finally revealing himself 



no 


THE reader’s digest 


in a flashlight explosion in the open- 
air theater as one of the older law 
school students. 

With so much easy money lying 
about, L.S.U. boys were determined 
to reach out and take theirs. When 
the bubble burst, with the indict¬ 
ment of Huey’s henchman, Presi¬ 
dent Jim Smith, for embezzlement 
of $^oofiOO in university funds, 
more than 50 percent of all L.S.U. 


students were on some kind of 
payroll. • 

However, as a result of Huey’s 
ministrations L.S.U. acquired a 
magnificent plant, magnificently 
maintained; some impressive names 
on the faculty next to some garden 
variety mediocrities, or worse; 
and the framework for what may 
become, years hence, one of the 
great southern universities. 


Answers to Brain Twisters on Page 19 


1. Twenty miles. Since the two bicy¬ 
clists were traveling at 15 miles an hour 
and were originally 30 miles apart, 
when they met they had been on the 
road for an hour. Accordingly, the fly, 
traveling at 20 miles an hour, covered 
20 miles regardless of how complicated 
its path. 

2 . One, two, and three. 

3 . Six hours. The 49 butts make seven 
cigarettes, but each of these when 
smoked is good for a new butt. Thus 
there are seven additional butts; there¬ 
fore eight cigarettes. 

4 . Halfway. After that he’s running 
out. 

5 . How many minutes in an hour and 
20 minutes.^ 

6. I. Awkward. 2. Backgammon, Black¬ 
guard. 3. Luncheon, Truncheon. 4. 
Perhaps. 5. Saltpeter. 

7 . One person gets the basket — with 
the apple still in it. 


8. You will have lost $9.25. It is 
immaterial which times you win or 
lose, as long as both occur the same 
number of times. 

9 . One big haystack. 

10 . Four statements of information 
are made. If they are numbered one 
to four, it is easier to follow the reason¬ 
ing. Albert is not the broker (i) nor 
the lawyer (3). The senator is friendly 
with two of the other three men (4) 
while Albert is unfriendly with two of 
them (i); so Albert cannot be the 
senator. Hence Albert must be the 
doctor. The broker is neither Alfred 
nor Albert (i) and cannot be Alexander 
since that gentleman is on good terms 
with the doctor (2) whom we have 
just proved to be Albert. The broker 
must therefore be Aloysius. Of the 
remaining two men, Alfred was not 
on good terms with Albert (i), and 
from (4) we can tell that Alfred cannot 
be the senator. Hence Alexander must 
be the senator and Alfred the lawyer. 



The citizens of Henrico County, Vii^nia, hire a business 
manager and get full value for their tax dollars 

Common Sense in County Government 

Condensed from National Municipal Review 
Karl Detzer 


M ost of America's 3053 coun¬ 
ties charge outn^eous taxes 
. for the services they ren¬ 
der their citizens; with millions of 
dollars invested, they often are 
managed less capably than a small¬ 
town store. This is due partly to 
outmoded, horse-and-buggy meth¬ 
ods, politicians hanging on to ^ 
good thing, to patronage, pap and 
overstufFed payrolls—and partly to 
public lethargy, because you and I 
are content to foot the bill. 

5 >even years ago the citizens of 
Henrico County, Virginia, decided 
to put common sense in the court¬ 
house. They employed a^ trained 
nonpolitical executive to adminis¬ 
ter their affairs on a business basis. 
Today they have what many ex¬ 
perts call the best county govern¬ 
ment in America. 

Henrico is one of half a dozen 
counties in the nation to employ 
the county manager plan effec¬ 
tively, although a handnil of others 
have adopted variations of it. That 
more have not adopted it is due to 
the opposition of entrenched po¬ 
litical bosses who realize that if the 
manager plan is inaugurated in 
their counties they are through. 


Today, although the tax rate is 
lower than it was under the old 
form of county government, Hen¬ 
rico has increased its services to 
its people an average of 43 percent. 
It did this by consolidating depart¬ 
ments, abolishing useless jobs, sub¬ 
stituting business practice for po¬ 
litical expediency. 

Henrico County almost sur¬ 
rounds, but does not include, the 
city of Richmond — thus profits by 
no city taxes. More than half its 
30/X)0 people make their living 
from agriculture; 30 percent are 
Negro. Its 240 square miles em¬ 
brace a Richmond suburb, 1350 
farms, six rural villages. Its soil, 
population, wealth and industries 
are average, but its government is 
not. 

First, it operates on a balanced 
budget. In seven years it has built 
three waterworks systems, mod¬ 
ernized and increased its police 
force, placed health, sanitation, 
finance and public works on an effi¬ 
cient basis by transforming a cha¬ 
otic, unrelat^, overiapping group 
of offices which spent public funds 
into a modern department of fi¬ 
nance. It has abolished a fee sys- 


Copyrigbt National MunUipal ^aguct Broadvayt N. T. C. 



THE reader's digest 


II 2 


September 


tern whereby five elected officers 
formerly pocketed $33,000 a year, 
has substituted salaries of $15,800. 
It has snatched nearly 1000 chil¬ 
dren out of schoolhouse fire traps, 
built $500,000 worth of new schools, 
raised teachers’ salaries 23 percent, 
wages of other employes an aver¬ 
age of 10 percent. 

And at the same time it has re¬ 
duced taxes and is paying off its 
bonded debt of $900,000 at the rate 
of $37,500 a year. 

Its tax rate, based on 45 percent 
of fair market value of real estate, 
last year amounted to 49)^ cents 
on each $100 of assessment, as 
compared to a state average of 74 
cents, a national average of $1.13. 
Thus the owner of a $5000 farm 
paid $2475; ^ suburbanite in a 
$10,000 home paid $49.50 and got 
water and sewer service, protection 
by .fire and police departments. 

Instead of 25 elected independent 
officers each running his own de¬ 
partment, buying his own supplies, 
appointing his own deputies, build¬ 
ing his own political fences, only 
seven are now elected: common¬ 
wealth attorney, clerk, sheriff and 
four supervisors. These four (at 
present an insurance agent, two 
doctors and a farm manager) re¬ 
ceive $400 a year each, meet twice 
a month, serve as a county board of 
directors. They determine broad 
policies, set tax rates and salaries, 
and appoint the school board, plan¬ 
ning board and county manager. 
They are not concerned with jobs 


for ditchdiggers, clerks or police, 
or the trivia which too dften take 
up most of a board’s time. 

Henrico’s manager until this 
year was a lanky engineer named 
William F. Day who previously 
had managed the city of Staunton. 
In Henrico, for $6000 a year, he 
worked 12 hours a day, counte¬ 
nanced no political pressures, made 
his associates work as hard as he 
did. Perhaps his outstanding qual¬ 
ity was a con\;iction that public 
funds should be spent just as 
frugally as John Average Citizen 
spends his own cash. He believed, 
too, that the rural taxpayer is 
entitled to as good schools, roads, 
police and fire services as his city 
brother, provided he’s willing to 
pay for them. 

Day did no “housecleaning” 
when he took over. He told county 
employes: “If you are capable, 
willing to work and to forget poli¬ 
tics, stay and help clean up this 
mess.” 

Nearly half the present employes 
were inherited from the former re¬ 
gime. Others, chiefly political ap¬ 
pointees in nonessential jobs, got 
out fast. This was particularly true 
of the highway force. 

Formerly, as in most counties, 
the road department was burdened 
with welfare cases. Scores of these 
were actually unemployables, men 
too old or too sick to work, some 
carried on the payroll at 10 cents 
an hour, neither expecting nor 
expected to do any real work. 



1941 


COMMON SENSE IN COUNTY GOVERNMENT 


113 


“Road building’s a construction 
job, not a charity ward,” Manager 
Day said. He ordered the welfare 
department to handle its own cases, 
the highway division to employ 
only able-bodied men. Today the 
hundred road workers receive from 
30 to 50 cents an hour. 

Henrico’s roads formerly were 
built and maintained by four sep¬ 
arate organizations, each directed 
by an elected supervisor, each with 
its own labor and equipment. These 
now are merged into one force, 
directed by one engineer. He built 
a single shop to service and repair 
all road equipment. It also repairs 
the 36 school buses and 12 police 
cars. The plant cost | 5 io,ooo, saves 
half that much each year, gives 
the public better service. 

The county several years ago 
bought 60 acres of farmland, from 
which it digs sand, gravel and top¬ 
soil. It gets gravel at 32 cents a ton, 
has enough to last 50 years. Aver-" 
age price of gravel from commercial 
plants previously had been $1.2^ a 
ton. Savings on this item amount 
to more than ^10,000 a year. 

Henrico has 430 miles of roads, 
79 percent hard-surfaced. It buys 
no land for any highway, no mat¬ 
ter how powerful politically an 
owner may be. “We need plenty 
of new roads and plenty of widened 
roads where people are willing to 
give the land,” Day told his board. 
In the past four years property 
owners have presented land for 43 
miles of new roads, at no charge. 


Frugality and political expedi¬ 
ency rarely go hand-in-hand. It’s 
hard for an elective officer to turn 
down a salesman with a thousand 
votes up his sleeve, even if his 
price is a few cents high. Henrico 
buys everything from tractors to 
thumbtacks through a single pur¬ 
chasing agent. He is an appointive 
officer. He is not interested in votes, 
simply in keeping his job, and his 
job consists in getting more for the 
money. Last year he shopped care¬ 
fully on 1565 orders, spent $250,- 
oco, saved 20 percent over old-time 
methods. 

Thirty-three full-time and eight 
part-time policemen, appointed by 
the manager, patrol the county 
highways 24 hours a day in radio 
cars. The sheriff, nominal head of 
the department, recently asked 
to be relieved of that particular 
duty, and the county employed a 
trained chief, who installed modern 
fingerprint and identification sys¬ 
tems, sends his men to FBI schools 
for instruction. 

When Farmer Smith demands to 
know why the tax is higher on his 
40 acres than Farmer Jones pays 
on his 40, the finance officer has 
the answer ready. From his files he 
pulls two large cards, one for 
Smith’s farm, one for Jones’s. 

On each is drawn an accurate 
map of the assessed property, show¬ 
ing roads, woodland, type of soil, 
etc. On each is pasted a photo¬ 
graph of farm buildings. Each house 
is described in detail. The finance 



114 


THE reader’s digest 


officer is able to point out that the 
Smith house has a tile bathroom, 
an oil burner, insulated walls, a 
glassed porch — none of which 
blessings belong to Farmer Jones. 

“Besides,” he may add, “Jones 
has 17 acres of worthless swamp¬ 
land and every inch of yours is 
good soil. His barn was built in 
1894 and is ready to fall down. Yours 
is only five years old. You are a 
lucky man, Mr. Smith, compared 
with Mr. Jones.” 

Usually the objector is satis¬ 
fied; if not, he may lay his com¬ 
plaint before a board of appeals. 

Delinquent taxes in the county 
have dropped from 22 percent in 
1933 to 10 percent last year, thanks 
in part to a “budget plan” worked 
out with local banks. Citizens who 
find themselves unable to pay their 
taxes in a lump sum need only drop 
into the nearest bank, figure out a 
budget scheme they can afford, 
pay a portion each month. 

Three years ago the finance offi¬ 


cer discovered that a numbell' of 
county employes and persons with 
whom the county did business were 
delinquent. In spite of screams of 
protest, he quietly withheld sala¬ 
ries and payment of bills until tax 
payments were arranged under the 
budget plan. 

This year the federal government 
called Day from Henrico, made him 
responsible for municipal efficiency 
in the boom towns arpund national 
defense projects. To succeed him 
the county board appointed 37- 
year-old S. J. Mahaffey, manager 
of the town of Franklin, Va. He is 
carrying on Day’s methods with 
no change in personnel. 

Henrico voters like the plan. 
Last election, every candidate for 
office went on record approving 
business methods in county gov¬ 
ernment. They knew that their 
people would not return to the ex¬ 
pensive luxury of political maneu¬ 
vering at public expense. 

Now, in your county . . . ? 




Tuition Plan, Inc. 

C 2 /eveh U. S. colleges this year joined 
93 private schools in selling education on the installment plan. The 
system operates under the name Tuition Plan, Inc. A parent signs a 
contract with the school, which sells it to Tuition Plan and receives 
the full tuition price at the beginning of the term. Tuition Plan 
sends the parent a monthly bill, adding 4 percent for services, collects 
the money in eight installments. Among several thousand contracts 
written. Tiiirion Plan has nevpr hart nne- that fai]fA m mtv _r.M« 



<[That favorite fiction character, the amateur detective, 
finally has his counterpart in real life 

Amateur Crime Busters, Inc. 

Condensed from The American Mercury 
Alan Hynd 

O NE NIGHT in 1930 Sergeant The visitors agreed. To act as 
I Gustave R. Steffens of the amateur detectives would be fun. 
Elizabeth, N. J., police in- Soon they incorporated as The 
vited to his home a ballistics ex- Crime Detection Laboratory of 
pert, a microscopist, an expert pho- New Jersey, a nonprofit organiza- 
tographer and an authority on violet tion. Since then the group, now 
and infrared rays. Steffens himself much enlarged, has worked hand 
had just completed a four-year cor- in hand with small-town police 
respondence course in chemistry. - units and sheriffs to solve scores of 
“I asked you here tonight,” Stef- crimes which, without their assist- 
fens explained, “because of an axe. ance, might forever have remained 
An axe was found in the home of a mysteries. 

man who had quarreled with an- At first nobody paid much atten- 
other man who was recently mur- tion to The Crime Detection Lab- 
dered. There were red stains on it, oratory, with a correspondence 
so headquarters decided the owner school chemist as its president. Then 
was the murderer. They spent a the Elizabeth police picked up a 
week hunting for him before I Negro in the railroad yards and ac- 
broiight the axe home and found cused him of being the burglar who 
the stains were paint, not blood. As had for some weeks terrorized local 
a result of the time lost the guilty residents. The Negro said he had 
man may never be found.” just bummed his way by freight 

Steffens pointed out that the local from the ore mines of Pennsylvania, 
police department could not afford “Oh, yeah?” said a detective, 
to set up a crime detection labora- “How is it you got $87 on you? 
tory. “ That's where you gentlemen Here, try on this cap.” The cap had 
— and others, I hope — will come that very night been left at the 
in. I want you to contribute, free, scene of a burglary. It fitted the 
your spare time, professional knowl- Negro. 

edge and valuable equipment to Because he still refused to con- 
any small police department which fess, headquarters appealed to The 
needs them.” Crime Detection Laboratory. Dr. 

Copyright t^4i. The American Mercury, Ine., jyo Lexington Ave., N. T, C. 

(Tie American Mercury, July, '4/) tts 



n 6 THE reader’s digest September 


Paul Walther, microscopist, ex¬ 
amined the prisoner’s clothes. He 
reported that the Negro couldn’t 
have been around Elizabeth for 24 
hours, let alone several weeks. Nei¬ 
ther his suit nor his shoes contained 
a particle of the red clay soil in¬ 
digenous to the vicinity. But they 
did yield willemite and franklinite, 
minerals abundant in the Pennsyl¬ 
vania ore fields. These findings sub¬ 
stantiated the Negro’s claim to 
innocence. As a clincher, they dis¬ 
covered in the cap two light hairs, 
none of curly black. 

By this time local scoffers were 
silenced. Meanwhile Steffens and his 
co-workers had lined up new crime 
hobbyists — dentists, toxicologists, 
bacteriologists, even lawyers — to 
guide them as to admissible evi¬ 
dence. The Standard Oil Company 
agreed to handle an occasional anal¬ 
ysis job, without charge, in its 
nearby laboratory. The amateurs 
spent many nights making chemi¬ 
cal tests for the Elizabeth police 
and supplying photographs, en¬ 
larged for courtroom purposes, of 
bullets, buttons and other pieces of 
evidence. 

One night in the neighboring 
town of Woodbridge a two-story 
building with a ground floor grocery 
store caught fire. The store propri¬ 
etor, Frank Gentile, lived with his 
wife in the rear. The building’s 
owners, Mr. and Mrs. Antonio 
Lanni, who occupied die second 
were spending the night with 

MimAa in Npw "Ynrir 


Among the spectators was James 
S. White, assistant county prose¬ 
cutor. He was impressed by the 
swift spread of the flames. And 
when the fire was put out a search 
of the debris yielded a small piece of 
carpet which smelled of gasoline. 
White further discovered that both 
Lanni and Gentile had loaded up 
with fire insurance a few weeks 
before. 

The prosecutor’s office sent the 
piece of carpet to The Crime Detec¬ 
tion Laboratory. Sergeant Steffens 
took it to the Standard Oil people. 
“What brand of gasoline is in this?” 
he asked. In a few hours he knew 
not only the brand but the grade; 
and he learned that the fragment 
contained synthetic turpentine, dear 
to the hearts of firebugs. 

The authorities then canvassed 
hardware and paint stores, and 
service stations handling the brand 
of gas. At one place they were told 
that a dark man in his middle fifties, 
resembling neither Gentile nor 
Lanni, had recently bought four 
five-gallon drums of the fuel found 
in the carpet. In a nearby town a 
man answering the same descrip¬ 
tion had bought five gallons of 
synthetic turpentine at a paint 
shop. 

Detectives shadowing Gentile 
followed him one night to the home 
of a dark, middle-aged man named 
Antonio Piscitelli, who turned out 
to be Gentile’s father-in-law. Pis¬ 
citelli was identified as the buyer of 

aracolm^ ttnA fufruatif'ino A 



/p^/ 

search of Gentile’s garage uncov¬ 
ered a pair of old pants smelling of 
gasoline — which Steffens found to 
be the same brand that Piscitelli 
had bought, indicating that Gentile 
had helped his father-in-law torch 
the building. Confronted by this, 
Gentile confessed, naming Piscitelli 
as the author of the plot. Lanni had 
been in on it, too. All three defend¬ 
ants received long prison terms. 

After the arson case, police de¬ 
partments and sheriffs in New 
Jersey, New York and Pennsyl¬ 
vania began sending Steffens clues 
from suspicious fires, hit-and-run 
crimes and mysterious deaths. From 
as far as 500 miles distant thjere 
came, in hermetically sealed con¬ 
tainers, parts of human bodies for 
examination by toxicologists. Pieces 
of clothing, forged documents, den¬ 
tal work, and chemical and medical 
questions streamed in. The Labora¬ 


117 

tory cracked — by mail — many 
cases which never could have been 
solved by small-town cops. 

The Laboratory now numbers 
over 50 experts — ranging from 
physicians and X-ray specialists to 
mineralogists and handwriting ex¬ 
perts. None of them has ever ac¬ 
cepted anything for his services, 
though many have worked long 
hours, nights and Sundays, on 
tough cases. The Laboratory has 
handled 570 major cases, solving 
more than 500 of them. J. Edgar 
Hoover of the FBI has said of the 
work: “It far surpasses the at¬ 
tempts which have been made by 
police departments to organize lab¬ 
oratories within their own organi¬ 
zations — which because of lack of 
funds and sufficient current work 
generally result in a lack of expert 
specialization. The project should 
be emulated in other communities.” 


AMATEUR CRIME BUSTERS, INC. 



ea Itsi 

“QOm.!. , Uncle Joe,” the real estate man said to an old Negro 
who had just paid the last installment on a small farm, 'Til make you 
a deed to the farm now it’s been paid for.” 

“Boss,” the Negro replied, “if it’s all de same to you, I wish you’d 
give me a mo’gage to de place.” 

The surprised real estate man protested that Uncle Joe didn't seem 
to know the difference between a deed and a mortgage. 

“Well, raebbe not,” said the Negro. “But I own^ a fahm once 
an’ J had a deed an’ de Fust National Bank had a mo’gage, an’ de 
bank got de fahm!” —Bankfug 



Little People and Big JVords 

By 

Sherwood Anderson 


O N MY FARM ill Virginia is a 
man wlio has been there, as 
farmer, for twelve years. 
He works hard, trying to make the 
farm pay its own way. I live there 
ill the summer and wander around 
America in the winter. I meet a 
good many people of the so-called 
artist class — authors, musicians, 
poets, painters. Mostly, I have 
found, they are very sour on life. 

They think that civilization is 
going to pieces. Things are not 
right with our country nor with the 
world. I gather that of course none 
of this is their own fault. It is the 
fault of the people, they say; the 
people, who are too dumb. 

I think all this would be of no im¬ 
portance except that from these 
men and women come the books 
and articles that people read. So 
they influence the thinking of othens. 

These writers and poets and 
painters seem to be in a terrible 


Sherwood Anderson died on March 8, 
at Panama, while on a South American 
:ruise. This bit of homely philosophy, found 
n longhand in his room and destined for 
I'he Reader’s Digest, was perhaps the last 
thing he wrote. 

Leaving school in Ohio at I4., Sherwood 
\nderson became first a roving common 
aborer. He was manager of a paint factory 
vhen he began to write about people in the 
mall-town Midwest that he knew so well. 
Vineslmrg^ Ohio (1919) is possibly the best 
itown of a dozen ^ks from his pen. 


hurry. I find that they do not have 
much time to make acquaintances 
outside their own circle. So they 
can never understand the people of 
whom they complain. The people 
are “the masses.” They dismiss 
them with a word. 

Not long ago I was walking 
with a friend alorlg crowded city 
streets. For an hour he talked of 
himself, of what a terrible problem 
life was to him. Civilization, he 
said, was falling into chaos. Why? 
He used vague words. “People are 
too stupid.” He spoke of “the peo¬ 
ple,” but he did not mean the hun¬ 
dreds of individuals who passed us 
as we walked, for he was not aware 
of them. His ears were filled only 
with the sound of his own complaint. 

We passed a boy and girl and I 
heard her saying: “You don’t want 
to worry. There’ve been things 
worse than this before. We’re going 
to come out all right. Why, if things 
were all right all the time, we’d 
never appreciate it!” I saw her 
smiling at him. The boy’s frown 
changed and I saw him smiling 
back at her. 

“These dumb masses,” my friend 
said, making a sweeping gesture. 
He had seen nothing but what he 
had been thinking in his head. 
“Like cattle! How can you make 
them understand.^” 


J18 



LITTLE PEOPLE AND BIG WORDS 


I19 


Another friend of mine is a young 
poet. I took him with me once to 
spend an evening with a certain 
family. They are what is called 
“middle class.” They had heard 
that my friend was a poet, and so 
they were a little overawed. For a 
while conversation did not go easily. 

A boy of perhaps 2o.came by to 
visit one of the daughters. He stood 
waiting for her and he seemed em¬ 
barrassed, talking too loudly and 
saying things he did not mean. 
After he and the girl had gone out 
together, I was told that they had 
been sweethearts from childhood, 
but that lately the girl had been at¬ 
tracted to an older man with i 
successful business. The mother 
favored the older man, but the 
father liked the boy. The girl’s 
sister favored the boy too. “She 
wouldn’t be happy with Tommy,” 
the mother said. ‘T don’t want to 
see any more unhappiness.” 

The girl’s sister got up and ex¬ 
cused herself; she was smiling, but 
I saw that her face was strained. 
“I shouldn’t have said that,” the 
mother said. 'Fhen I learned that 
the man this other daughter had 
been going to marry had suddenly 
gone insane. She was herself nearly 
half insane with grief. But she had 
been sitting there with us, covering 
up her grief, smiling, talking, trying 
to come back to normal. 

“She’ll get over it,” the father 
said. “It’s hard for her nqw, but 
she won’t let it beat her.” 

w<» 1#»fV tnw (TtmrtA f-Iii* 


poet asked me what I saw “in dull 
middle-class people like that.” 

These are the words we hear — 
“the masses,” “the middle class,” 
“the capitalists.” Thousands of men 
working in the great factories; one 
word, “the masses,” makes them 
all the same, pigeonholed and dis¬ 
missed. The people who use the 
word do not see the lines on their 
faces; they are not aware of the 
ideas, the problems, the emotions 
that make these thousands of faces, 
these thousands of lives each one 
different from the other, each with 
its own strivings and ambitions, its 
sorrows and joys. 

“The people are stupid.” But 
there is no such thing as “the 
people.” There is instead the in¬ 
dividual. He can be put into this 
“class” or that “class,” but he 
does not know it. He remains him¬ 
self, a man or woman shaping his 
life, living an adventure, striving 
for happiness, for decency. He knows 
what he is striving for. He knows 
so well that he will die for it, if need 
be. I'he good fights have never been 
fought and won by those who use 
the big empty words and find “the 
people” dull. 

I used to talk with a woman who 
worked at a machine in a factory. 
Her husband was dead; there were 
two children at home to support. 
She was not a machine that guided 
another machine. Her children were 
going to school; she read their school- 

and fanorht' (-Ltirtfiarli 



120 


THE reader’s digest 


her children’s minds. She talked of 
the machine she worked at. “It is 
a wonderful thing,” she said. “My 
boy knows how it is made, and he 
taught me. Some day he is going 
to make a better machine. I think 
that is the idea of America. It says, 
‘Here! There are things to do, 
things to make better. No one is 
holding you back. You go out, all 
you young ones, and learn, and 
work, and make things better.’” 

She was a part of “the masses.” 
Her life was not dull. Her life was 
joy and adventure. 

I SPOKE OF the farmer on my 
place. He has been struggling for 
years to improve the half-worn-out 
soil of my farm. He gains a little, 
year by year. That poor soil is a 
living thing to him, a sick thing 
that he is nourishing and helping 
back to health. He is a man of 
few words, but occasionally he 
talks of what he thinks about. 

Once in a while when I have been 
listening for too long to the big 
thinkers, I go out to the barn where 
he is perhaps milking a cow. I talk 
with him and my mind clears of the 
big words I have heard, all the 
complaints and questionings. “This 
is ‘the people,’” I think as I listen 
to him. “This is what is so ordinary 
and commonplace.” And I wish 
that I had my friends with me, to 
listen too. The farmer is talking to 
me of his life, of the soil he nour¬ 
ishes, of an idea that came to him 
^^ 'in the fields the other day. 


Then he talks of the people in the 
neighborhood. The son of ‘the fam¬ 
ily down the road has come back 
from an agricultural college, and he 
has a lot of new ideas. His father 
pretends to be dubious, and they 
argue, but behind his son’s back he 
says to the other farmers, “You 
ought to come and listen to my 
boy.” And the young man nearby, 
who married the girl no one thought 
much of, the girl he found in the 
city; well, it seenjs he broke his leg 
and couldn’t wwk, and this girl got 
out and did the work, and took 
care of him too. It seems she is a 
fine girl, after all. 

The farmer tells me all this. He 
makes me aware, if I had never 
been aware before, that each in¬ 
dividual’s life is a world of its own. 
It may be a very little world, com¬ 
pounded of things that would be of 
no importance elsewhere; but it is 
separate, it is individual, it has its 
own color and adventure. 

That is the answer to those who 
say “the masses,” “the classes,” 
who use the words that mean noth¬ 
ing. They do not see beneath the 
big empty words to what is right 
next to them, to what is all around 
them, to the individuals who are 
“the people,” to the adventure of 
their days, the ever-varied texture 
of their lives, the dreams and hopes 
that, slowly, they work to make 
into reality. The words are dead, 
empty and bitter; “the people” 
are unaware of them, for the people 
are alive. 



Skahe Bauds With the Braam 



A CONDENSATION FROM THE BOOK BY 

Carl Click 

THIS unique and entertaining study of life in New York’s 
Chinatown, Carl Click tells how the Chinese-Americans in this 
country have, by adapting age-old eastern ways to modern western 
life, solved many of the problems which perplex our society — 
child training, juvenile delinquency, divorce, social security, the 
enjoyment ox leisure and old age. 



Copyright /94t, and published at f2.jy by Whi^sey House^ MeGnw~HiU Booh Co., Ine,, 

Sso W. 42 St., N. Y. C. 









O NE EVENING as I tumed the 
corner into Chinatown, I 
passed a shop where two 
old men sat in the doorway. I over¬ 
heard one of them say, “For? qua 
loWjfienee** That means, “Foreign 
blue-eyed devil man in a hurry.” ‘ 

I slowed down, bowed pleasantly, 
and replied, “//<?./« ina, hong yin?” 
— “How are you, men of China?” 

They smiled in return, and that 
was that, I thought. 

Later that night I had dinner in 
a favorite Chinese restaurant. When 
I came to pay my bill the cashier 
informed me it had already been 
taken care of. 

“By whom?” I asked in amaze¬ 
ment. 

“Your two friends up the street,” 
was the answer. “They hoped you 
would not hurry out of Chinatown 
as fast as you hurried in.” 

And I never do. The Chinese con¬ 
sider hurry uncivilized; and after 
spending an hour or so with them, 
sipping tea, chatting quietly, I find 
that the pressing necessity of the 
moment grows unimportant and 
a fresh perspective takes its place 
— the Cfhinese perspective that to- 
morrpw will always come; that a 
eul^^ w^ich has endured for thou- 
?V;. laa 


sands of years will survive even the 
2oth century. 

To Americans the Chinese often 
seem strange, their ways surprising. 
But it is worth while getting to 
know them. I have been acquainted 
with the Chinese in this country 
for a number of years now, ever 
since I was an athletic director at a 
settlement supported by the Meth¬ 
odist Church on Second Avenue in 
New York City. And knowing them 
has been an exciting adventure; one 
that opens new paths in living to 
explore. 

I T IS ODD that Chinatown should 
be a refuge of quiet and peace¬ 
fulness, for it is one of the most 
congested areas in Manhattan. 
Some 8000 persons live there, in a 
few city blocks. We know from our 
social workers that crime finds a 
fertile breeding ground in crowded 
tenements. Yet in this area juvenile 
delinquency is hardly a problem. 
In a recent year only one Chinese 
child was arrested. A police captain 
gave me a reason: “Chinese chil¬ 
dren are trained to respect their 
parents and uphold the family 
ideals.” 

I wondered if this was the an- 











SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DRAGON 


swer. I went to my friend Eddie 
Wu, for he had told me that when 
he was ten he had been arrested for 
truancy.* Eddie suggested that I 
talk with his father, and late one 
afternoon we all met for tea. Mr. 
Wu was a dignified old gentleman. 
He rarely smiled, yet there was a 
humorous twinkle in his eye. 

“My son,” he told me, “is known 
in Chinatown as ‘Number One 
Bad Boy.’” 

Eddie sadly murmured, “ Must I 
be reminded forever of my wild 
oat?” 

“Yes — for I have eaten it,” re¬ 
plied Mr. Wu. “Yet never again 
will he disgrace me.” 

“How do you manage him?” I 
asked. 

“Very difficult,” said Mr. Wu. 
“I work hard and perspire freely 
to set him a good example. I deny 
myself many foolish pleasures, such 
as a man of my age is entitled to. 
But it is worth it. If I do not set 
him a good example, who will?” 

He explained that the first of all 
virtues is filial piety. It begins with 
serving one’s parents, leads to serv¬ 
ing one’s kind, and ends in establish¬ 
ing one’s character. 

“When a child in Chinatown is 
bad-mannered and misbehaves,” 
Mr. Wu went on, “it is the father 
who is criticized. It is his first duty 
to his country, his neighbors and 
himself to train his children pmiv 
crly.” 

* See “As the Chinese Twig Is Bent,” The 
Reader’s Digest, April, 'jS. 


123 

“ But suppose he is too busy, or 
doesn’t care?” I asked. 

“Then he loses face. His neigh¬ 
bors, his cousins, his friends and 
business associates would no longer 
invite him into their homes, nor 
would he be asked to feasts. And if 
he loses face with his family and 
friends he might as well go out and 
make a gun go pop into his heart. 

“So we Chinese are very strict. 
What happened to you, my son, 
when you were arrested?” asked 
Mr. Wu, chuckling. 

Eddie looked sheepish. “My 
father did not speak to me for two 
months. He took away all my play¬ 
things. I was not allowed to leave 
the house after school hours. My 
friends all laughed at me. I was 
very unhappy.” 

Strict as Chinese parents are, I 
have been unable to find a single 
record of one being charged with 
cruelty to children. The Chinese 
believe youth and old age should 
be the two happiest times of a 
man’s life. And so, for the first four 
to six years, a Chinese child is 
petted by everyone. The Chinese 
believe that because this is a sad 
world, with tears more plentiful 
than laughter, a child should start 
upon his journey through life smil¬ 
ing. Teach him in his earliest years 
that life is gay, and ten to one, de¬ 
spite ill fortune, he’ll go through 
manhood with unflinching courage 
and at the end again find peace and 
have memories of laughter. 

As Mr. Wu said, “The parents 



124 THE READER'S DIGEST September 


do all they can to make their chil¬ 
dren happy, and later the children, 
remembering a happy childhood, 
do all they can to make their par¬ 
ents happy.” 

Thus there are no repressions for 
a baby. I have never yet heard 
a Chinese father say “Don’t” to a 
very young child. Instead, it’s al¬ 
ways a positive statement, “Do.” 
The way to learn, the Chinese say, 
is by positive action. And they be¬ 
gin this instruction as soon as the 
baby is able to toddle. The father 
himself is the teacher. 

Nothing gives a Chinese father 
more pleasure after a day’s hard 
work than to go home and play 
with his babies. And no fathet in 
the world is more proud than a 
Chinese. As soon as the child is able 
to toddle the father takes him to 
visit his friends. A son to carry on 
after he has gone — that is his 
final answer to life. It is a better 
investment against a lonely old age 
than money in a bank. 

But by the time the son is six 
years old the coddling ceases. It is 
time to train him to become a man. 
From now on, unquestioning respect 
for his elders is firmly planted in 
his life. It is even carried into the 
manner of addressing each other in 
the family circle. Members of the 
same family do not address each 
other by their given names. It is 
“Elder Brother,” or “Younger 
Brother,” and so on. When boys are 
playing together the oldest is al¬ 
ways appointed leader. It is up to 


him to decide what the game is to 
be, and settle all disputes. Should 
one of his group get into mischief, 
the leader must accept the punish¬ 
ment. 

This respect for the elder makes 
for ready obedience, and a serene 
home life. Household discipline is 
strict. Training in stoicism begins 
at an early age, and forces upon 
the Chinese child an acceptance of 
life and death that he never loses. 

ASK A Chinese boy' what he in- 
tends to be when he grows up, 
and the answer is invariably, “A 
scholar like my father.” For in 
Chinese life the scholar is given the 
highest rank. But the scholarship 
for which children strive is not 
learning for the sake of learning but 
learning for the enjoyment, in their 
old age, of books and poetry, art 
and music. This makes for a rich, 
not a lonely, life when a man re¬ 
tires. 

Chinese children spend practi¬ 
cally all day in school. Their I. Q.’s, 
by the way, average from 115 up, 
with many as high as 130 and 147*. 
When they are dismissed from the 
American public schools at three 
o’clock, they go home for an hour’s 
play in the streets, an older person 
watching quietly to see that they 
do not misbehave. Then from four 
until seven they attend the Chinese 
schools, built by the Chinese them¬ 
selves. Here they are taught the 
precepts of Confucius and other 
philosophers, Chinese history and 



SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DRAGON 


1941 

language, and other cultural sub¬ 
jects. 

At home, after the evening meal, 
the father or elder tells them stories 
of ancient China's heroes, poets 
and philosophers; and of the glories 
of the family in past generations, 
handed down by word of mouth. 
Many are parables which have a 
bearing on the problems of the day. 

I think that the peace found be¬ 
hind the closed doors of Chinatown 
is due to the fact that the eldest 
present sets the pace: since he was 
trained properly in his youth, he 
now trains his sons and grandsons 
in the same manner. 

O NE DAY Eddie Wu telephony 
me. He had finished college 
the year before and was now in 
business with his father.' 

“My bride is coming to town 
tomorrow," he announced. “Come 
with me to the Grand Central. I 
want to see what she looks like.” 

“Don't you know?" I asked, 
somewhat bewildered. 

“Certainly not,” and he hung 
up. 

I met Eddie at the appointed 
time. Though it was midwinter, 
tiny beads of perspiration stood on 
his forehead. He hid himself in the 
crowd, growing visibly more nerv¬ 
ous as the moments passed. Sud¬ 
denly he stopped fidgeting. Coming 
from the train was an elderly Chi¬ 
nese man, and following respect¬ 
fully a few feet behind him a young 
flhinpsft airl. Eddie sfenned im¬ 


pulsively forward. The girl gave 
him a quick glance, then demurely 
lowered her eyes and continued on 
her way. 

“Whew!" said Eddie. “I shouldn't 
have done that. Very bad manners. 
My father would be cross if he 
knew.” 

As I learned later, this was no 
mail-order bride. Eddie Wu's mar¬ 
riage had been arranged in the 
orthodox Chinese manner, and the 
selection of his wife had involved 
many months of careful research. 

Mr. Wu explained it to me: 
“Americans fall in love and then 
marry. We Chinese marry first — 
then fall in love. It is much better 
that way. More lasting.” 

I knew that divorce among the 
Chinese was so rare as to be prac¬ 
tically non-existent. But to marry a 
girl you’d never spoken to 1 

I asked Eddie how he felt about 
it, and his answer was surprising. 
“My grandfather selected my mother 
for my father. He didn't see her 
until his wedding day — and I’m 
here. So it’s all right. My father has 
good judgment. I trust him. I shall 
be happy with the wife he chooses 
for me.” 

“Finding the one wife best suited 
to my son was too delicate a prob¬ 
lem for me to undertake myself,” 
said Mr. Wu. “To go about inter¬ 
viewing young women and their 
parents would not be good man¬ 
ners. I hired a professional go-be¬ 
tween — Mrs. Wong, the mother 
of four crown sons. I oaid her jlioo 



126 THE reader's digest September 


and expenses. And if there are sons 
the first few years, she’ll wheedle 
more out of me!” 

Mrs. Wong was an expert charac¬ 
ter analyst, with an understanding 
of human nature based on experi¬ 
ence. Her first duty was to find out 
all she could about Eddie. She 
talked with his friends, neighbors 
and business associates, and with 
people who didn’t like him. Ulti¬ 
mately she knew all about the boy. 
He had many good qualities that 
should be encouraged. He also had 
faults that must be overcome. 

Then she drew a chart of Eddie’s 
character and was ready to apply 
to her selection of a wife the an¬ 
cient Principle of the Yang and 
Yin — simply, the missing half 
needed to complete Eddie’s whole, 
a woman strong where he was weak, 
and weak where he was strong. As 
Eddie was extravagant, Mrs. Wong 
sought a thrifty wife. Eddie was 
fond of gadding about; Eddie’s wife 
therefore should be home-loving, 
shy. Married to Eddie she might 
overcome her shyness, and Eddie 
might find more delights in his 
home than he found before. 

It was in Boston that Mrs. 
Wong, after an equally careful 
inquiry, discovered such a young 
woman. Mrs. Wong’s report satis¬ 
fied Mr. Wu. Gifts were exchanged 
between the parents, and the en¬ 
gagement was sealed. Eddie sent 
his future wife his picture, and she 
responded with a like courtesy. 
Save for Eddie’s unorthodox peek 


at Grand Central, he didn’t see 
his bride-to-be until after ^he 
Chinese ceremony. This preceded 
the American marriage as pre¬ 
scribed by law, and was held at 
Eddie’s home. He would continue 
to live with his parents, of course, 
until his family became too large. 
Then he might move across the 
hall. 

T he door to the outside world 
in the apartment building had 
been given a new coat of red paint, 
symbolizing good luck. The wed¬ 
ding was set for noon. Slowly the 
guests assembled. Eddie sat in his 
room, which was from now on to 
be the bridal chamber. He had 
removed his own trappings; in 
their place was the furniture the 
bride’s parents had sent; a red 
bureau, a red chair, and a red bed. 
Her clothes were neatly packed in 
a red chest. 

Noon came and went. We waited 
an hour, two hours. Eddie became 
more and more pleased. “She is 
displaying the proper modesty,” 
he whispered. “She will be here 
before sundown.” 

Finally came a low knock. Eddie 
made no sign. But someone quickly 
dropped a match into a large bowl 
filled with straw by the door. 
Bright flames shot upward as the 
door was opened and Mrs. Wong 
entered with the bride. The girl 
was lovely to look at, dressed in a 
black coat and red satin skirt, 
rings and bracelets of jade and 



SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DRAGON 


12 '/ 


J941 

gold, holding a fan before her face. 
Mrs. Wong dodged the bowl with 
its burning straw, but the bride 
stepped quickly over it, thus sig¬ 
nifying that she burned her past 
behind her. She was taken into an 
inner room and Eddie, who had 
been looking discreetly at the 
floor, stepped bravely forward. 

In the ceremony which followed, 
Eddie thanked his father and his 
mother separately, with the nine 
bows of ultimate respect, for hav¬ 
ing been given life, and pledged 
himself to live up to the traditions 
of his ancestors, to give them many 
grandchildren, and to be honorable 
in his treatment of his fellow men. 
Then he retired to another rodln 
and it was the bride’s turn to 
pledge filial obedience. 

This done, Mrs. Wu led the 
bride into the bridal chamber. The 
ceremony was over. Eddie was a 
married man. And the guests con¬ 
gratulated the parents, not the 
young couple. 

At a banquet that evening, to 
introduce the bride to all the family 
and friends, Eddie was toasted in 
Chinese wine while his bride sat 
alone, neglected. But at midnight 
she rose and went from table to 
table, shyly offering each guest a 
cup of tea — the cup of hospitality, 
her first courtesy. As we accepted 
the cup we each placed on the 
tray, folded in red paper, some 
money — the wedding present. A 
nice way of doing it, I thought. 
There was no wav of knowinsr who 


gave which, and the couple could 
buy what they wanted. The bride 
then presented each guest with a 
betel nut, which was promptly 
eaten. That meant that we ac¬ 
cepted her as Eddie’s wife. We 
again congratulated the proud 
parents, and staggered home. 

But I wondered. Here was 
Eddie, married to someone he had 
never seen before, and the same 
thing was true of his bride. How 
would they come to an adjustment 
and understanding? I later was 
bold enough to ask Mr. Wu. 

He was patient with me. “The 
Chinese have a saying,” he said, 
“‘To keep afloat in a leaky boat 
both must bail.’ My son and his 
wife must learn to make compro¬ 
mises. It will develop their charac¬ 
ters. Of great importance are the 
first courtesies he pays her. He will 
have to be gentle and kind with 
her. And she will respond with 
similar kindnesses. My son is 
starting out on a great adventure, 
the adventure of discovering what 
his wife is like. The Chinese believe 
that courtship should start after 
marriage — not end with it, as is 
your custom.” 

A year after Eddie was married 
to that girl he had never met I 
saw him one day in Chinatown. 
He was pushing a baby carriage, 
and displaying to his friends his 
tiny eldest son. “See what I got!” 
he said proudly. 

I’m inclined to believe his mar¬ 
riage is a success. 



128 THE reader’s digest September 


O NE OF THE TIMES I like China¬ 
town best is after midnight. 
Then it is one secs the elders — 
the leaders of Chinatown, the 
proud old Chinese who cling to 
their native customs. They remain 
at home during the day with their 
scrolls and books. But at night 
they visit with their friends in 
restaurants where foreigners never 
go, drink tea and discuss politics 
and philosophical problems. They 
are clad in old trousers, loose black 
jackets and soft Chinese slippers. 
You wouldn’t think they had a 
dollar. Yet these are Chinatown’s 
wealthiest citizens. The Chinese 
reason that the wealthier a man 
becomes the better he can afford to 
dress badly and comfortably. 

Their great enjoyment at this 
midnight hour is talk. Never vio¬ 
lent, always quiet and humorous, 
one of them may hold the floor for 
a solid hour without stopping. 
Sometimes their sons and grand¬ 
sons drift in, sit at my table and 
translate the stories. Sometimes 
these old men speak to me, some¬ 
times not. It doesn’t matter. They 
are living in their own world now, 
a world of old China, and why 
should anyone intrude? 

At the first glimpse of dawn they 
drift to the bulletin boards on the 
corner, where the latestnews isposted. 
Then without comment they wander 
on home. By night they have pon¬ 
dered over the turn of events and 
prepared the proper expression of 
their opinions. 


It wasn’t long after Eddie Wu 
got married that Mr. Wu retired 
from his importing business and 
joined the group of elders. Now at 
last he could settle down to a happy 
old age devoted to his books and 
scrolls. This was what he’d been 
working for all these years. He 
started to translate the poems of 
Wang Wei, who lived in the seventh 
century. That was his ‘‘project,” 
and he often spent the whole day 
looking through his Chinese and 
English dictionaries for the exact 
word to express the subtleties of 
the thought. Besides the business 
and the balance in the bank, he 
wanted to leave behind him a bit 
of scholarship that could be ad¬ 
mired by great-grandsons long after 
the last dollar he had earned had 
been spent. Should he not live long 
enough to complete his work, Eddie 
would take it up when he in turn 
retired. 

“I laid aside my books for a 
time after I had graduated from 
college,” Mr. Wu told me. “Now 
I can return to them with a deeper 
understanding of the wisdom of the 
poets, because I have been in the 
midst of life. I can now become a 
scholar as my father was before 
me.” The spectacle of a retired 
businessman setting out at long 
last to enjoy life and then not know¬ 
ing what to do with himself is un¬ 
known among the Chinese. That’s 
why in every Chinatown in this 
country you will see old men sitting 
in the teahouses, or on hot summer 



SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DRAGON 


1941 


129 


days fanning themselves idly in 
doorways. They have learned that 
simple pleasures are the best, and 
that inviting one’s soul is the great¬ 
est of man’s achievements. 

I T WAS a cold night in February, 
the eve of Sun Nin the 
Chinese New Year, that we sat 
down to a banquet in the friendly 
warmth of Eddie Wu’s apartment 
in Chinatown, where every door 
was decked with gaily colored lan¬ 
terns. For 4600 years, Chinese fam¬ 
ilies have reunited on this evening. 

What a banquet! Roast duck, 
into whose interior spicy juices had 
been poured, and then forced into 
the meat itself by pressure from' a 
bicycle pump! We gorged our¬ 
selves; we played the game of verse, 
where one tries to think of apt 
poetic phrases for otherwise dull 
ways of saying things. We glanced, 
now and then, at the clock — but 
no one spoke of the Dragon. He 
had been asleep since this time 
last year, and his hiding place was 
a secret. One didn’t know he even 
existed! 

Suddenly, on the stroke of mid¬ 
night, came the thunderous rattle 
of firecrackers. Even Mr. Wu looked 
up. “This is amazing!” he mur¬ 
mured. “What is going on at this 
hour of the night?” 

Wrapping up warmly, we rushed 
down the stairs. People were flock¬ 
ing out of their homes. Spits of 
flame from exploding crackers and 
red flares added to the excitement. 


“It’s the Dragon!” everyone cried 
with great surprise. 

At the moment the New Year 
was born, he had come down from 
his hiding place in the temple. He 
was a playful Dragon, joyful in his 
ferocity, with ears that flapped and 
a, great yawning mouth, red eyes 
that twinkled, and a long tail cov¬ 
ered with tinsel and sparkling 
jewels. Ahead of him stepped a 
dancer, clad in ancient Chinese 
costume, waving a knotted piece of 
red silk in rhythm to the thunder of 
drums and crashing of cymbals. 
On each side walked protectors, 
armed with tall old battle-axes. 
Two dancers managed the Dragon, 
one concealed in his head, the other 
in his long tail; and others waited 
in the crowd to take their places — 
never once must he stop his fanciful 
dance. 

Bowing low, then rising on his 
hind legs and shaking his head 
with charming ferociousness, he 
pranced up the long street, fire¬ 
crackers exploding around his feet. 
Never once did he show the least 
fright. He made it clear that he 
was thoroughly enjoying himself. 

He didn’t remain long this eve, 
for the next day he was to dance in 
the streets from morning to night. 
Then he is out for a purpose. 
Dangling on long red strings from 
the balconies of the stores and as¬ 
sociation headquarters are heads 
of lettuce and oranges. Tied near 
the tempting food are bits of folded 
red paper, concealing money. The 



IJO THE READER S DIGEST September 


Dragon sees the lettuce. He is 
hungry; but he is polite, he takes 
his time. He does his dance, and 
then, drums and cymbals reaching 
their climax of noise, with increas¬ 
ing fervor he shakes himself, rises 
high, and gobbles the lettuce. His 
attendant thrusts the folded paper 
with money into the box he is 
carrying, and they go on until by 
night every orange and every bit 
of lettuce has been consumed, and 
the hungry Dragon has been fed for 
another year. Then he goes back 
to sleep. 

The money is turned over to the 
Chinese Benevolent Association. 
It is the Chinese community chest. 
All civic improvements come from 
this fund, and from it the Chinese 
schools have been built, contribu¬ 
tions to the Relief for China Asso¬ 
ciations made. No one knows, save 
the Dragon himself, just how much 
each contributor placed in the 
little red paper. 

'Fo the Chinese, so Mr. Wu told 
me, the Dragon is a symbol of all 
that is good in nature and life. He 
is a symbol of the creative spirit of 
man escaping from a too realistic 
world to rediscover again his own 
soul; his ultimate acceptance of his 
identity with all nature. 

For the Dragon is like nature. 
The rolling hills resemble his back; 
the waves of the ocean rush upon 
the shores like a hungry, devouring 
Dragon. The rivers twist as he does. 
Even the earth roars when there's 
an earthauake. and volcanoes spit 


forth fire and smoke from their 
Dragon nostrils. But he is man's 
servant, not his master. And if you 
treat him kindly, he will be your 
friend. So the Chinese dance with 
the Dragon, twist his tail in good- 
natured fun, and make of him a 
playful, kindly beast, 

“If," as Mr. Wu said, “the 
Dragon is nature in all her terror 
and majesty, let us not be afraid. 
Let us go out and meet that fear. 
It is only the unknown that fright¬ 
ens us; we are afraid of what lies 
beyond the hill. Once we explore 
that unknown country, our fear of 
it vanishes. Shake hands with the 
Dragon — that’s the way of peace." 

W HEN the Chinese came to this 
country they brought with 
them their own age-old ways of 
doing things — ways so strange to 
our eyes that instead of trying to 
understand we have withdrawn in 
distrust and fear. But in adapting 
their own customs to our western 
civilization they have evolved a 
way of living that contains the 
answers to many social problems 
puzzling us today. 

To explain how they solve the 
question of social security, for in¬ 
stance, I have only to tell the story 
of Charlie Sing. During the ’20’s 
Charlie had a flourishing laundry. 
He worked hard, sassed his cus¬ 
tomers in soft-spoken Chinese, flat¬ 
tered them in pidgin English, and 
prospered. 

But in 1022 the bundles of laun- 



SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DRAGON 


1941 

dry dwindled. Charlie saw others 
turning to the relief agencies. He 
knew assistance would be given 
him, an American born, were he to 
apply. But instead he put a sign 
in his laundry window which read, 
“No more wash. Be back subse¬ 
quently. Good-bye, please.’^ Then 
he paid all his bills and went to the 
headquarters of his Kung SaWy or 
family organization. Charlie did 
not have to go on relief; thanks to 
the Kung Saws, the Chinese were 
the one group of so-called foreigners 
in this country who did not look to 
the government for assistance dur¬ 
ing the depression. 

Charlie invited me to visit him 
at his Kung Saw. It was like stej[)- 
ping into another world. The club- 
room was furnished with beauti¬ 
fully carved teakwood chairs, and 
the walls were hung with scrolls 
of Chinese writing, some elaborate 
with flowers, birds and landscapes 
embroidered in silk. Colored lan¬ 
terns gave warmth and richness to 
the room, and carved screens inlaid 
with gold and silver leaf made its 
beauty complete. At one end was 
an altar where stood the statue of 
the family god. Staunch and be¬ 
nign, a quizzical smile on his 
peaceful face, he appeared wise 
enough to answer any question. He 
was, I was told, the original Sing, 
founder of the family. 

In a corner near the door that 
led to the kitchen was the one in¬ 
congruous note in the whole room; 
a plain burlap bag of rice. It con¬ 


131 

tained 100 pounds, and was never 
empty. Charlie could help himself 
whenever he got hungry. 

“This is my family guild,” Char¬ 
lie said. “I became a member the 
day I was born. So did my father 
and grandfather, the day each was 
born. So all my cousins.” 

I'hese cousins are not necessarily 
blood relatives. They have the same 
family name, that’s all. It’s as if all 
the Smiths called each other cousin 
and were accordingly all members 
of the Smith clan. 

In China there are only about 
200 different clans altogether; in 
this country, about 60. As a general 
rule, each family guild has club- 
rooms in every city where there is 
a Chinatown. Your laundryman 
probably spends his Sundays there, 
feasting with his friends, playing 
Mah Jong and quietly reveling in 
the Chines^ companionship he has 
been without all week. The name 
Kung Saw means “I am with you, 
all pulling together.” 

Ever since Charlie was old enough 
to work he has been paying — as 
did his father and grandfather be¬ 
fore him — the sum of ^12 a year 
to his family guild. And so has every 
member of each Kung Saw, no 
matter if he be a wealthy importer 
or a humble laundryman. This 
money becomes a trust fund, ad¬ 
ministered by the elders of the clan 
to help the cousins in distress. If a 
member dies and leaves no money, 
the Kung Saw gives him decent 
burial; and if his widow has no sons 



THE reader’s digest 




September 


she is taken care of as long as she 
lives. 

“Suppose a man can’t pay this 
$12 a year?” I asked Charlie. 

He pointed to a bulletin board 
on which were tacked long strips of 
red paper covered with Chinese 
writing. “There hangs my debt, 
until it is paid. If I die without 
paying, my sons or nearest rela¬ 
tives will pay until my paper is 
removed from the wall.” 

Charlie was soon given a job by 
one of his cousins — for his food, a 
place to sleep, a few dollars a week. 

W AGES MAY BE Small in hard 
times, but what profit there 
is is shared. Chinese employers 
take on more men in a depression. 
If there are four or five busy ironing 
in a shop where you have always 
seen but one or two, you can know 
that times are bad. The prosperous 
laundryman is doing his duty by his 
“cousins” and his Kung Saw. 

The Kung Saw will send a man 
clear across the country if neces¬ 
sary. Should a Chinese in Boston, 
say, lack work but have a prosper¬ 
ous blood cousin in San Francisco, 
he will be passed from one Kung 
headquarters to the next until he 
finally reaches that city. 

The principle of extending aid to 
those who need it is deeply in¬ 
grained in the Chinese. In 1936 New 
5 fork’s Chinatown gave $1530 to 
the Red Cross for the relief of the 
Vlississippi flood sufferers. Further- 

tm%roirnw%arti- e«in4> 


$30,000. The ^American Red Cross 
has been very generous to •other 
nations in times of disaster; but in 
the year of our great flood China 
was the only government that re¬ 
membered and came to our help. 

Charlie has his laundry back 
now. His debt paper is removed 
from the wall of his Kung Saw. I 
don’t think we have to worry about 
him or his “cousins”: they will 
never be a burden to Uncle Sam. 

M r. Wu explained to me the 
Chinese method of coopera¬ 
tive ownership in business. When 
he was a young man he inherited 
some $3000. He wanted to start a 
restaurant but needed $5000. So he 
went to the Wu Kung Saw and, 
since his father had been an hon¬ 
ored member, they raised for him 
the $2000. 

As most of the capital was his, he 
naturally became the manager. The 
workers were the “cousins” who 
had invested with him. In short, 
the workers were all shareholders 
in the business. (In some restau¬ 
rants a waiter is the principal 
owner and the manager merely the 
man who can best greet the guests.) 

Across the street from Mr. Wu’s 
restaurant was another, with just 
as tempting prices, just as bright a 
sign, and just as good a cook. It 
was Mr. Wu’s most obvious rival. 

The manager was also Mr. Wu’s 
friend. One evening over teacups 
the two of them had a long talk, 

«.k » ....... ... 



SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DRAGON 


^33 


J941 

rangement. They traded a few 
shares in each other’s business. In¬ 
stead of gazing enviously from be¬ 
hind the window shades when cus¬ 
tomers flocked into one restaurant 
and not the other, they both sat 
down undisturbed, knowing that 
no matter where visitors dined 
they’d both have a profit. 

W HEN the Chinese first settled 
in this country, certain fami¬ 
lies, because of their numbers, were 
having things pretty much their 
own way. Observing how the Cali¬ 
fornians controlled turmoil by 
forming “vigilante” committees, 
the Chinese sought an equivalent 
to enforce justice and fair play. 
They formed the first Tong. It was 
a combination of several small and 
oppressed family clans, and like the 
vigilantes it set out to combat evil 
by methods not wholly those of 
sweetness and prayer. The cleans¬ 
ing process was effective, but the 
Tongs received a black name. To¬ 
day, let a Chinese be found stabbed 
and immediately the newspapers 
cry, “Tong killing!” 

Today, the Tongs of our modern 
Chinatowns actually correspond to 
our own service clubs. Rotary, 
Lions, Kiwanis. They are composed 
of businessmen banded together for 
mutual benefit. They have head¬ 
quarters, national officers, their 
own charities. The day of Tong 
warfare is over. Any trouble among 
members of one family is composed 
by the Kung Saw. Arguments be¬ 


tween members of different families 
are settled in the Tong dubrooms. 
And disputes that in the old days 
would have led to bloodshed are 
today brought before the Chinese 
Benevolent Association, which, 
composed of elders from all the or¬ 
ganizations in Chinatown, is their 
supreme authority. 

I was told a story which illus¬ 
trates the present-day “Tong war¬ 
fare.” It seems that recently two 
Chinese got into an argument. 
Words were bandied about and 
finally blows were struck. The 
fighters were immediately taken to 
the dubrooms, where the affair was 
aired in the open. 

For fighting in public, both men 
were fined. But the man who struck 
the first blow was fined more 
heavily. He was the real offender. 

“ What was the matter with your 
father?” it was asked him. “Was 
he so lacking in scholarship that he 
did not teach you the proper use of 
words? Are you so lacking in argu¬ 
ments, so poor in the knowledge 
of poetic phrases, that you must 
strike a blow to win your point?” 

T he Chinese who came to this 
country before the turn of the 
century didn’t want to be a part of 
American life. They remembered 
the California race riots of the *8o*s, 
and they shut their doors upon our 
ways, and continued to live as their 
ancestors had lived in China. 

Young Chinese-Americans today 
have a different outlook. They were 



THE reader's digest 




born here, and have graduated 
from our high schools and colleges. 
They are just as American as any 
of the other “ foreignerswho have 
made this their home. But the 
question they so often ask is, 
“What employment outside of 
restaurants and laundries is open 
to us?” For our American busi¬ 
nesses are closed to them. 

If I were an American employer 
I think somewhere on my staff I 
would have a Chinese youth, if for 
no other reason than the new slant 
I would get on my business. But I 
also know I’d find more joy and 
more good humor about my shop 
than I dreamed could exist there. 
Imagine a Chinese receptionist in 
an executive’s office: how poised, 
how equal to any emergency; how 
swiftly but soothingly he would get 
rid of the obnoxious visitor; how 
honest and faithful he would be. 

The Chinese in America do not 
despair of some day being under¬ 
stood and accepted. They organize 
study clubs, with speakers to 
acquaint them with the problems of 
youth in a new world in the mak¬ 
ing. They are patient. 


“We want to stay here in Anj/er- 
ica,” they say. “We want to be a 
part of this democracy, with the 
same chance for progress as all 
other seekers of freedom who have 
come to these shores.” 

O N THAT October day in 1940 
when the young men of this 
country, Americans all, immigrants 
all, were called upon to register for 
Selective Service, the registration 
board at the public school in New 
York’s Chinatown met with a sur¬ 
prise. When the board arrived at 
six o’clock in the morning they 
found, lined up four deep for more 
than a block, waiting and ready, 
over 1000 young Chinese-Ameri- 
cans. They had come from all parts 
of the city to stand together. 

I asked Eddie Wii why. He 
smiled. “It’s a secret. But we 
wanted everybody to see that we 
Chinese are ready to do our part. 
We are American citizens — we 
vote here, we live here. We young 
men want to prove, not only to our 
elders but also to the American 
people, that we wish to do our 
share in making democracy work.” 




Onic Kmgiit, author of This "Above All (condensed in the following 
pages), was born in Yorkshire, England. His father was killed in the 
Boer War, and he began to support himself in the mills at the age of 
12. In the World War he served throughout the four years in the 
thick of the fighting in France. He came through unscathed, but ‘ 

iv^rli kiQ hrnrhpr« u/erp killpfi. 




The No. 1 National Best Seller 












r wAS to be their last evening 
together — their last respite 
from the war. Tomorrow Clive 
must rejoin his regiment near Lon¬ 
don; and Prudence, wearing the 
mannish uniform of the W.A.A.F., 
would return to the camp at 
Gosley. 

It seemed hard to believe now 
that they had first met less than 
a fortnight ago. Strange how an 
acquaintance begun so casually — 
a chance meeting after a concert, 
between a girl in the W.A.A.F. 
and a soldier on leave — could 
have grown so intimate in these 
few short days! But then, the war 
was changing so many things, so 
many conventions, so many lives. 
Even here, in this little South 
Coast village, the war went grimly 
on. The bombers had been over; 
they might be over again tonight. 

Monty — who had been in France 
with Clive — had come up from 
London for the afternoon, and they 
had gone to the village pub for 
dinner. After Monty had left them 
to catch his train back, Clive had 
seemed moody. At closing time 
they came out, stepping from the 
fugginess of tobacco smoke and 
bright lights into the fresh night 


air. In the blackout, Prudence 
grasped Clive’s arm and he short¬ 
ened his step to her pace. 

‘‘It was a nice farewell party,” 
she said. 

“Yes,” he said. “Watch the 
curb.” They stepped down and 
then up, together. 

“Monty was so solemn,” she 
said. “He kept saying ‘No matter 
what he tells you, remember there 
wasn’t a better soldier that came 
out of Dunkirk than Clive here.’ 
What did he mean?” 

“How should I know? Maybe he 
was tight. Lots of ’em fight the war 
over when they have a skinful.” 

“No. I mean about that ‘no 
matter what he tells you.’ Does he 
mean you’re going to tell me a hor¬ 
rible secret?” 

He walked silently. His mind 
was saying: Now it comes. Here it 
is! Get it over with! Here it comes! 
Here . . . 

“He meant — I tdd him this 
afternoon — that I’m not going 
back.” 

He kept his voice cold and cas¬ 
ual, and she did not understand. 

“Not going back? Where?” 

“To the army,” he said. “After 
my leave’s up. I’m never going 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


back. Now that's all there is to it." 

Only then did she drag his arm. 

‘*Wait a moment, Clive! You're 
joking. No! No, you're not. You 
mean you're going to desert?" 

"Not going to. I have." 

" But — but — you're on leave !*' 

"I'm not. Oh, I have a pass. But 
mentally and morally I've been a 
deserter for the last ten days. I'm 
not going back and that's all there 
is to it, and let's forget it." 

She pulled him toward a bench 
by the sea-wall, but he stood stiffly. 
She sat, resting her hands on her 
knees. " Clive — are you — you're 
not joking?" 

"No — I've told you. I'm not 
going back, that's all. I had to 
tell you . . ." 

" If you had to tell me, then you 
have to tell me why** 

"Simple. Because I don’t want 
to get killed. I'm a coward, that's 
why." 

"You are a coward," she said. 
"You can do things in the excite¬ 
ment of war — but that’s not being 
brave. Anyone who wouldn't serve 
his country the first time things 
don’t go right — he's a coward. 
You're a coward." 

He laughed, quickly. 

"All right, you want to get me 
angry so I'll spill a lot of words. 
But I won't. Have it your way. 
I'm a coward, I'm a rat — but all 
•the same^ I'm not — going — back!" 

She sat silently a long time. 
Then she stood up and faced him. 
"What can I do, Clive? What can 


I do?" She began to walk down th< 
Esplanade, and he walked beside 
her. 

"You can forget it, that’s all. Il 
isn’t cataclysmal. The world wil 
go on just the same.” 

She did not answer. 

"Look," he said. "If I hadn’i 
met you, you’d never worry. You’e 
never have worried about one mar 
who resolves not to go back.” 

"But I have met you, Clive. 
And that's it, don’t you see? I have 
met you. I have — more than 
met you." 

After that they went on, un¬ 
speaking, going miserably. They 
went up the path toward the clifi 
top, walking together but with a 
world between them, until, at last, 
they faced the sea. In the darkness, 
he touched her arm. 

"What are you crying about?” 

" I’m not crying." 

"You are."' 

"Oh, Clive. I’m not a wailing 
woman. Not really. But what can 
I do?" 

"I’m sorry,” he said. "It’s a 
bloody mess. I’m sorry you had the 
bad luck to take up with me. I 
suppose I don’t have those noble 
instincts that . . ." 

" But you do, Clive. That’s why 
I can't understand it. Tell me your 
real reason, and then I can under¬ 
stand too." Her head was lifted 
now, and her voice was clear. 

"Prue," he said. "I've lived for 
27 years. And I think it would take 
me 27 years to tell you why. I don't 



1^8 THE READER S DIGEST September 


want to tell you because I don’t 
want to destroy your faiths and 
beliefs, any more than I’d want to 
tell a child of three that his belief 
in Father Christmas is a lot of lies.” 

“I’m not a child of three.” 

“I can’t argue,” he said. “Let’s 
forget it.” 

He put his arm around her and 
they sat quietly. 

“Clive,” she said, suddenly. 
“You’re not a coward. I’m sorry 
I said that. I know you’re not. 
Even if Monty hadn’t told me how 
you gave another man your place 
in the boat at Dunkirk — I’d have 
known it, because I have felt it. 
You have so much courage that it 
flows over into other people, and 
gives them strength. And that’s 
why I don’t understand why you 
won’t go back. VVhy.^ Can’t you 
tell me?” 

He stared into the blackness. 

“I’m not asking for argument, 
Clive. I’m asking for — under¬ 
standing. Don’t you see?” 

“Yes, I can see that.” 

“Then you’ll tell me?” 

“All right — I’ll try.” He paused, 
breathing heavily as if searching 
for a beginning point. 

“Look,” he said. “You remem¬ 
ber Monty said men’ll die all right 
if they see sense to it?” 

“Yes.” 

“That’s true. We were willing to 
go and die in France. Not hero¬ 
ically or falsely, as that sounds. 
But every man somehow had 
rhoucrht of it. and was willinn. Well. 


1 see now that it doesn’t ipake 
sense. So I’m not willing to be 
killed any more. That’s all.” 

“ But the elementals are still the 
same, Clive. We didn’t get beaten 
in France! If you knew how people 
think with pride — pride in their 
hearts — about all you men who 
were at Dunkirk. It wasn’t a re¬ 
treat! It was ...” 

“No, I don’t mean it that way. 
When we went to France, we went, 
believing something. Well — but 
when we, or at least I, came out of 
Dunkirk, we knew that something 
wasn’t true. We knew that we 
weren’t being asked to die for 
justice. We were being asked to 
die because other people had been 
blind and blundering and smug.” 

“But Clive, no one could fore- 

S66 • • • 

“No, listen to me now, and don’t 
ever forget. We were there with 
rifles, bayonets, machine guns and 
artillery — yes. But be was there 
with tanks — thousands of them. 
With thousands of planes. With 
motorized divisions. And most of 
all — with new techniques of em¬ 
ploying these superior arms. 

“Why were we put against such 
ungodly odds? Hadn’t our side 
seen the terrible military lessons of 
Poland? Then why were those les¬ 
sons ignored? They said, really, 
within their hearts: ‘Oh, of course. 
The Poles! Backward people, the 
Poles! Not to be compared to the 
fiber of real British troops.’ 

“Bv the Lord God above us. 



liiia /iJSMVi:. Ai^L. 


J39 


1941 


did they think that a British body 
is any more impervious to bullets, 
to flammenwerfers^ to fleets of 
tanks, to skies black with dive 
bombers, than Polish bodies? Is 
there something, then, in the blood 
of these men called British that 
means their flesh won’t rend, or 
their bowels can’t be torn out? Our 
wounded were ground to unrec¬ 
ognizable pulp under the treads of 
tanks almost before the useless 
rifles could fall from their hands 
— my own eyes saw that done! 

“And who did that? Who sent 
us out to pit our bodies against 
steel? It was the men of words.^ 
I'hey said: "Fhe British Tommy 
will pit his skill against the wicked 
and unholy brute force of the enemy 
and by his will power and courage 
he’ll hold the line.’ 

“Those men committed a crime 
against public trust, against com¬ 
mon sense, against life itself. For 
even a child knows that will power 
of the dying cannot slow down the 
approaching tank one fraction of 
an inch; nor can fortitude clear 
the sky of a sun-stopping plague of 
Stukas. Who was it who failed? 
Was it the men who thrust their 
very bodies into the gaps around 
Dunkirk — or who lay out on the 
beach there and never rose again ? 
Who failed?” 

He looked into the blackness, 
and saw it all again. This dreadful 
picture, forming in his mind, cried 
for some expression, but he felt 
pity for her. It were better to make 


things seem brighter — and even 
then they were dark enough. 

‘*We had some planes,” he said, 
slowly. ‘‘The chaps that flew them 
— they were as good as any who 
ever went up. But they were one 
against twenty. Who made that 
mistake? Who said British kids in 
planes were worth ten of any other 
breed? Who sent those kids up to 
die? Me? Monty? The men of Dun¬ 
kirk? The chaps in the planes? 

“No! By God, no! Never us! 
We die! But the other fellows 
made mistakes — and their mis¬ 
takes didn’t even give us a bloody 
sporting chance. 

“So — I don’t believe in ’em any 
more. And I refuse to die to per¬ 
petuate their incompetence. 

“Now! That’s all! I’ve told you! 
It’s finished.” 

She sat silently for a while and 
when she spoke out to the darkness, 
her voice was unsteady and low. 

“I’ve tried to think how it was, 
Clive. I know how you’ve suffered 
and I know you’re not a coward. 
And I also know that even the 
words I am going to say will sound 
empty and silly and false. 

“But there are bigger things 
than you, Clive — and than me. 
And we’ve got to win for the sake 
of those things. We’ve made great 
mistakes. But you can’t blame 
everything on us. You can’t blame 
us for the French collapse—^^and 
the Belgians surrendering — you 
can't blame that on us.” 

“Why not?” he said, harshly. 



THE reader’s digest 


140 

“Why not? Why didn’t we know 
France was internally rotten? Leo¬ 
pold lukewarm? Who’s been run¬ 
ning our foreign policy and our 
military affairs in these last years? 
If they didn’t know — how is it 
Hitler always seems to know? Why 
does he always know surely in 
advance — and we only know at 
the last second when we have to 
use human bodies as a stopgap? 

“I tell you it goes back to the 
entire government of Britain ever 
since the last war — a series of 
governments internally hollow and 
externally vain and smug. Dozing 

— thinking that because we’re the 
British Empire nothing unsporting 
can happen to us! Sitting con¬ 
tentedly on an internal industrial 
and social scheme that has stunk of 
its own stagnation. Paralyzed by 
one blind, unreasoning fear — that 
British labor might revolt from the 
stink of the dole. 

“ I believe with all my heart — 
and forgive me for making a speech 

— that the rulers of Britain, in my 
lifetime, motivated by greed and 
fear of social change, have de¬ 
stroyed what strong generations 
and great men have worked and 
fought and died to attain. 1 hold 
these men guilty and accountable 
before every British lad who’s put 
on a uniform and offered to die. 
They’re guilty — guilty —guilty!” 

“But Clive,” she cried. “Don’t 
you see! Don’t you see! We still 
must fight! Granting there is jus¬ 
tice in what vou sav — to be con- 


September 

quered by Hitler would be worse.” 

“There’s the rub. Prudence! 
There’s the rub! That’s the ques¬ 
tion that tortures me. If Hitler 
won, could it be worse, or weaker, 
or more shameful ? ” 

“But there’s not a doubt! Think 

of— of his persecution of the Jews, 

as one thing. You can’t deny that 

his crueltv ...” 

¥ 

“I don’t deny it. It was the cruel 
work of a demagogue who used 
fearful guttersnipe*methods as he 
climbed to power. It was the work 
of a panderer. A man who pan¬ 
dered to mass prejudices as surely 
as any Roman emperor burning 
Christians. 

“But hating him for that isn’t 
going to blind history to the other 
things he’s done. He’s built and 
reconstructed. He’s got no such 
thing as unemployment. He’s given 
a nation hope. He’s given a nation 
something to make it work for him, 
slave for him, march with him! 
Call it evil if you wish. But I say 
he’s given his people something 
that our leaders haven’t given us.” 

“You want to see this country 
Nazified!” He felt the horror in her 
voice. 

“If the stricken areas and the 
stagnant economic slums of the 
dole towns in the last twenty years 
has been democracy — yes!” 

“I don’t believe you want it. 
You’re just arguing! It would be 
the end of freedom!” 

“ Prue, a man will die for his own 
freedom and never complain. But 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


1941 

when his children’s guts ache with 
hunger, he’ll swap it for a loaf of 
bread and call it a better bargain.” 

“I want both freedom and 
bread.” 

“ So do I. But democracy in Brit¬ 
ain has been making us ask our¬ 
selves for years which one of the 
two we want.” 

"I,” she said, “would fight for 
both to the end.” 

“ You don’t know what 
it means to fight to the 
end,” he replied. “At this 
moment we stand alone 
— without an ally. We 
cannot take an army to 
the Continent and beat 
him. Unless he can bomb 
us into weakness, he can¬ 
not bring an army over 
here and defeat us. So 
what will it be? Think—think now! 

“It will be a stalemate — the 
most horrible thing in war. It will 
be both sides trying to starve the 
populace of the other. It will be 
sinking ships. It will be cutting off 
food supplies. This war will become 
the long^rawn-out misery of mass 
starvation. And it will become open 
and ghastly bombing of cities where 
civilians — women, children — will 
be torn and smashed into horrible 
pieces of flesh, into such repulsive¬ 
ness that you’ll turn your head 
away as you walk on the street.” 

“No, no,” said Prue. “They 
won’t dare bomb towns likethat — 
they know we’d both be able to 
do the same.” 


141 

“They wouldn’t dare bomb us? 
Oh, Prue, Prue! You are akin to 
the generals who think British 
bodies will stop more armaments 
than Polish ones. What — what 
makes you think the men who 
bombed Warsaw and Rotterdam 
to stinking piles of rubble and 
flesh will suddenly refrain nobly 
from doing the same to a British 
town? Hear me out; let me tell 
you two words. I have 
told you one; malnutri¬ 
tion. I will tell vou an- 
other: reprisals. Learn it! 
Reprisals! It is a word 
that Britain shall know, 
the crocodile tear that 
will be shed by the sanc¬ 
timonious of both na¬ 
tions — and damned be 
he who cries it first. 

“We shall bomb his railways. 
He will bomb our docks. A frag¬ 
ment shall hit a hospital. We shall 

both crv out aloud to the world. 
¥ 

The way we shall shout, one will 
believe that the only tai^ets ever 
struck by the enemy were hospi¬ 
tals, maternity homes and asylums. 
We shall both pl^y that game. 

“And when we both have shouted 
loud enough and long enough to 
convince even ourselves of his wan¬ 
ton monstrosity, we shall fling 
oflF the mask. We shall say; Re¬ 
prisal!” 

His voice sank low as he spoke. 

“Then we shall go into some¬ 
thing that will make the work of 
the Visigoths and Red Indians, 




142 THE reader's digest September 


even the exploits of Tamerlane 
who built a pyramid of a million 
skulls, look like antique amateur¬ 
ishness. Then we shall slaughter 
truly. Oh, he will do it first — of 
that I am confident. For he has 
more planes. And we are British. 
We are honorable.” 

She moved from his arm and 
lay down on the grass. He felt her 
withdrawn from him, coldly. She 
was miles away. 

‘*All right,” he said. “I didn’t 
want to talk about it. It was you 
who insisted.” 

She did not answer. He turned 
ingrily, and then his anger sank. 

“All right, Prue,” he said. “I 
nay be all wrong. But those are 
:he things that give me no peace. 

[ cannot believe in the guilty men 
who have let the British Empire 
lecay in the last twenty years. 
\nd, believing my own beliefs 
:ruly — what is there for me to 
ight for in this war?” 

She lay still a while, and then 
ler voice came, clearly, flatly. 

“You must fight for England,” 
he said. 

“England,” h§ said, quietly. 

She sat up, suddenly, and began 
:alking vehemently. 

“Yes, England,” she said. “You’ve 
old me all the things your mind 
:ells you you won’t fight for. What 
ibout all the things your heart tells 
rou you should fight for?” 

“What things?” 

“Ask your heart!” 

“I don’t think with my heart. 


Tell me just a few. Mention six.” 

“Ah, don’t talk like a glib'de¬ 
bater,” she said. “Not to me.” 

They sat quietly, feeling their 
anger. At last she spoke, slowly. 

“All right. I’ll try to tell you a 
few. If anyone asks me what Brit¬ 
ain is, he robs me of answer — be¬ 
cause everything it is can’t be 
spoken about — and if you do, it’s 
like pulling a flower apart to ana¬ 
lyze it. But because you — and I — 
we’re what we are — I want to 
say them . . She paused, finding 
words. He looked into the blackness 
over the Channel. 

“If I said it was Shakespeare — 
and thatched roofs — and the 
countryside, you could mock. If J 
said it meant the Magna Carta and 
all that went into it, and speaking 
your mind without fear, and the 
knowledge that your own home, 
no matter how wretched, is still 
your castle — you could laugh be¬ 
cause it’s been said before. 

“If I said England was the 
thump of a bat at cricket, and the 
New Forest deep in ferns and holly 
trees standing tall; if I said it was 
May blossoms rich in spring and 
bluebells like a God-sent carpet, 
and the rain and the shine and 
the green of our blessed land — if 
I said it was the larks that will 
sing here tomorrow, high in the 
sun, tomorrow and forever — if I 
said it was the polite bobbies on 
the corner, or the quick, clipped 
cheerful talk of a cockney passing 
in the dark, or the sense of fair 



iHia AJSUV£. ALL. J 4 J 


play that weVe given to the world 
— if I said it was all those, you 
could mock because words have 
said it so often before that they 
have tarnished the things. 

“If I tried to say it is all the 
things that make the pride and 
joy and gentle gladness of the Brit¬ 
ish people — I would use words 
badly and shame the things them¬ 
selves by doing so.” 

She was quiet, and then her 
voice went on, more calmly. 

“You tell me that we’ve had 
bad rulers — and I add that they’ve 
come and gone. You could laugh 
at me if I said that my poor 
intangible things are England. You 
could debate and out-argue me and 
destroy those shining things that 
are there — always there — some¬ 
how eternal like spring — and fall¬ 
ing in love. Things that always 
exist and always keep on hap¬ 
pening. 

“I can’t tell you of them if you 
won’t see them beyond the empti¬ 
ness of words. But I’ll make you 
see, Clive. I’ll make you see! 

“England, Clive, is all of us. 
England is you, Clive, standing up 
to your neck in water at Dunkirk. 
And England is helping the weaker 
men into the boats instead of get¬ 
ting in yourself—and seeing the 
last boatload filled up and knowing 
you’d have to go back for another 
day and lie on the beach, firing a 
single-action Lee-Enfield against 
dive bombers. That is England, 
Clive. When I say the word Eng¬ 


land, I can feel it warm in my 
breast here, like music. 

“You’ve got to go back and 
fight for these things. Because — 
that’s England, too — knowing we 
shan’t be beaten — knowing we’ll 
never give in if every last one of 
us dies — we won’t be beaten, we 
won’t! We just won’t!” 

Then she was so long silent that 
he reached out his hand and 
touched her in the dark. 

“ If England means that to you,” 
he said, “I’m glad for you. I wish 
it meant that to me, but itdoesn’t.” 

“Why doesn’t it mean that to 
you, Clive? It could!” 

“No, it can’t. Because England 
has meant other things to me — 
other things, different and bitter.” 

“Then — tell me. You are speak¬ 
ing to no one — but me.” 

He drew a breath. 

“All right. I’ll try to tell you, 
Prue. You’ve told me what Eng¬ 
land means to you. Now I’ll tell 
you what England means to me.” 

She heard his voice turn harsh 
and sharp-edged. 

“It means walking around until 
your boot soles are thin, and hoping 
against hope that the next place 
you go there’ll be a job. It means 
taking any old job, no matter how 
ugly. It’s meant a furtive childhood 
— when life most of all should 
have been splendid and strong. It’s 
meant the dirty side of life and none 
of the rewards. 

“Pink hunting jackets! Week 
ends in the country! Tennis flan- 



144 THE reader's digest September 


nels and jolly times boating — and 
pass the '94 Port, old man! D*ye 
ken John Peel in the morning! 

“Yes — there’s that England 
somewhere, for some of you. But it 
hasn’t been the England I’ve 
shared.” 

“I know, darling,” she said. 
“Being hard up and not having a 
billet is fearfully upsetting . . .” 

“Fearfully upsetting! Good God, 
you don’t even understand what 
I’m talking about. Filth, poverty, 
want, hunger!” 

“Oh, come now. Don’t you ex¬ 
aggerate? You’ve got health, and 
you’ve got an education and . . 

He sat in the dark and laughed. 

“God forgive me for being angry 
at you,” he said. “But now I’ll tell 
you. I see I haven’t used words 
that are clear enough. So help me 
God, I’ll tell you. You deserve it 
for your middle-class smugness— 
for your blind inability to conceive 
what life is like beyond your own 
little ring. As I’ve never told an¬ 
other person. I’ll tell you.” 

He bowed his head. 

“You know where I’ve spent 
most of my life? In slums! Eng¬ 
land’s green fair land? I was born 
in the back street of an industrial 
slum, amid corroding jerry-built 
brick and ftushless privies. 

“ Do you know the smell of pov¬ 
erty? Do you know what life is like 
there? Did you ever sit by the 
hour as a child with your feet in 
the oven to cure chilblains and 

1rni.^ur fluA KrtriAlAccHACo r\( vrkiir nwn 


crying because you were too^poor 
to have boots that didn’t leak? 

“Did you ever sit for days by 
the hearth holding a bread poultice 
to your distended jaw where bones 
splintered by inept and careless 
work at the free dental clinic rotted 
their way out — sit there for days 
in misery afraid to go back where 
they treated you so, biding it be¬ 
cause you knew you were too poor 
to have a doctor, biding it until 
the whole mass bursft, and blood and 
pus and splintered jawbone and all 
cascaded down into your own small, 
trembling hands? 

“Do you want to hear of pov¬ 
erty so real that every factor of life 
is measured against the reply of: 
‘We’ve no money?’” 

She put out her hand. 

“It’s what vou are now,” she 
said. “That’s how I see you. You 
don’t have to tell me of—of the 
other.” 

He moved his hand. 

“No. I’m petty. I’ll have my 
revenge. I’ll tell you.-Now. I — I’ll 
say things I don’t even say to my¬ 
self. Do you know what it’s like 
to grow up as a bastard child?” 

She drew her breath quickly and 
put out her hand. 

“You’re a human being, Clive. 
People — these days — don’t hold 
illegitimacy against the child born 
out of wedlock. We use sense 
nowadays . . .” 

“Oh, don’t they? Perhaps in 
your life, yes. But not among my 

riAnnlp Wa havA narrnWAr rr^r^AQ 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


1941 


H5 


and sterner moralities. A bastard! 
Something to find out slowly and 
painfully when you’re too young to 
carry the knowledge philosophi¬ 
cally — why neighbors never speak 
to your mother, why every other 
child in your street is superior to 
you. Something to find out when 
you start going to school, on the 
sudden day when the other.chil¬ 
dren, with the infinite cruelty of 
children, call the word out at you 
on the street as you go home. And 
you go home and ask what the 
word means — and you are not - - 
and cannot be — answered.” 

He lay back quietly; then h^, 
laughed. 

“School! I wonder what that 
word means to you! For me it was 
gray buildings, concrete play yards 
where we slid in monotonous rota¬ 
tion on candle-waxed slides during 
a five-minute interval that was 
known, so help me, as playtime. 

“In those schools —ah, the 
playing fields of non-Eton -- there 
was rote-taught education under 
men bored by the utter dreariness 
of the system — men who didn’t 
care — too often hack workers who 
had in their weariness developed a 
streak of sadism. 

“Men who started the school 
day by ostentatiously taking out a 
cane, setting it carefully and in full 
view, with its end in a bottle of 
water so that capillary action 
should make it three times as 
heavy. 

“There! The cane is in the water, 


and the water is in the cane. So 
now the day is set to begin that 
noblest of enterprises — the edu¬ 
cation of our British youth. 

r 

“Prue, I don’t think I ever 
would have had an inkling of what 
education might really be, except 
for the accident of one man. One 
man, there by haphazard luck, to 
change the course of your whole 
life. One man, by chance — and 
amid all the muck of your life he 
suddenly prompts you to look over 
the rim into a place so beautifully 
vast that there seems no horizon 
— the field of reasoning. 

“You know, we don’t go in for 
toys much in my world. I think the 
only toy T ever had was a pair of 
roller skates. Those skates, and 
that one year of school, are tangled 
hopelessly and sillily in my mem¬ 
ory as the only truly happy parts 
of childhood. 

“And then — the year is over. 
Just when you’re beginning to 
burst with your desire to know 
more, learn more, think more — 
you’re fourteen. You’ve been too 
bright, Prue. You’ve passed Sta-id- 
ard eight a year ahead of time, and 
so it snaps oflF. You’re a worker. 
You’re finished with education. 

“Working certificate and your 
first pair of long trousers. You 
don’t fight against it. You don't 
say: ‘My mind is alive — I want 
to know, to understand, to learn.’ 
You’ve seen your mother count pen¬ 
nies from the vase on the mantel¬ 
piece too long. And now you’re a 



146 THE reader’s digest Sfptmher 


man of fourteen. Education is a 
dream; but life - - that is real! You 
are going to earn your living. 

“ You know how to do it. You’ve 
been working for years — after school. 
You’ve been paper boy, butcher 
boy, peddler. You’ve shouted hot 
peas at night. You’ve minded neigh¬ 
bors’ children. You’ve pushed prams. 
You’ve scrubbed neighborhood priv¬ 
ies. You’re the bastard child of the 
neighborhood, and so you’re thank¬ 
ful that kind people let you have 
such opportunities. 

“Somehow it is glorious. For 
you’re old enough now to begin to 
see objectively, and this fortifies 
your pride. You’re starting at the 
bottom, but you’ll show them! 
You’ll make everyone proud of you I 

“I started out to be an appren¬ 
tice printer — or we hoped I could 
work up to that. It was funny! But 
I started. 

“I remember that morning — 
how we got dressed — how Mother 
took me - - how we both trembled 
in the factory office. Suppose they 
should say I was too weak-looking. 
We both, I think, trembled over 
that. . . 

He paused and seemed to con¬ 
sider. 

“Am I stacking the cards? I 
don’t know. I don’t think I am just 
telling a story to you, to touch your 
sympathy. I want you to under¬ 
stand my weaknesses, my preju¬ 
dice^ my strengths. 

“It cannot be bad fiction, for it is 

_j _ .l: _ -.- -i__ 


less futile or grubby or hopeleSs.’’ 
It was easy to remember it — sit¬ 
ting in the dark — looking back. 

“1 got the job. I made duplica¬ 
tion jelly! Do you know duplication 
jelly, madamer It’s used to make 
duplicate menus in cheap eating 
houses — those menus that are al¬ 
ways so faded violet that you can’t 
read them. But have you ever 
thought about its consistency? 
How it got into cans? Have you 
ever touched it, smelled it, boiled 
it, splashed in it, struggled in it, 
reeked of it? 

“Beautiful stuff! Made by the 
experts of our letter-duplication 
jelly department in our modern and 
up-to-date factory! That was me. 
I was the whole blasted bloody 
department — a bright and willing 
boy.’’ 

Bright and willing! Yes, that had 
been himself “ that filthy, reeking, 
grubby child there. Silly pipestem 
arms on a man-size shovel. So 
many shovels of this sack. So much 
coloring. So many sheets of the 
glistening gelatin. Dump them into 
the set-pot in the yard. It couldn’t 
be made inside — the far-above 
aristocracy of printers and binders 
and rulers would have died of the 
stench that came up when the cow 
hoofs started to boil. 

You made an efficient system of 
it, though. You stoked the fire with 
the packing cases the cans came in. 
You set the cans in a great row on a 
board. You shoveled. You boiled. 

i_ Ji-j .-U-L—Li-i; 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


1941 

ing rot. It splashed. It burned. It 
got into your hair, your clothes. 
You became a walking mass of 
damned jelly. 

And a pariah, too. The first day, 
at noon, when you sidled into the 
building to eat your bread and mar¬ 
garine— you saw it: the girls and 
the pressmen and the compositors 
wrinkling their noses — and you 
knew you were an offense to them. 
They couldn’t eat and stand your 
stench. 

After that you ate always outside 
— built yourself a small shelter high 
up in the packing crates. You wormed 
in there, and like an animal — ate' 
alone. You were shut off from soci¬ 
ety by a stench. At night, when you 
went home, you learned to go in by 
the cellar, to strip off your clothes 
there, to scrub in the half-barrel 
that was your washtub. You changed 
to the clean clothes your mother 
had hanging there. And that always 
made you feel somehow proud. 

He said: “I made letter-copying 
jelly. After tJfet I got a job in a saw¬ 
mill, and . . .” 

“But — weren’t you to be ap¬ 
prenticed as a printer?” she said. 
“Did you get the sack?” 

He smiled, and lay back in the 
grass. 

“ Prue, I never got the sack in all 
my life — unless the plant shut off. 
But there are always slack times 
and layoffs and so on.” 

“And what did you do next?” 

What did he do? Taker-off be¬ 
hind the saw at the sawmill. A bob- 


^47 

bin setter, a doffer in worsted. A 
brass foundry. No, that was after 
assistant in the fried fish shop. 
Then the bicycle and motorcycle 
repair shop . . . 

“Oh, I did various things, you 
know,” he said. “And I never got 
the sack. You see, my lower-class 
pride is still there. I never got the 
sack. Always hkd a very fine set of 
recommends. My recommends! To 
whom itmayconcern.May I not say 
that the bearer . . . and so on. 

“You learn to hunt work. You 
get quite expert at the hardest job 
of all — hunting a job. A job is a 
job, but getting one is an art. You 
learn to bluff — to tell the employ¬ 
ment managers that you know the 
job thoroughly. Then when you get 
in, if you’re quick, you look around. 
The other chaps know. You don’t 
even have to say: *Hey, chum. 
Show us how it goes.’ They know 
the minute you stand up to your 
machine. Generally they’re very 
decent — and when the foreman’s 
not looking, they’ll nip over and 
show you. Working men under¬ 
stand each other curiously that 
way. They don’t like to see you 
steal a job and rob them of work. 
But they know what it is to be laik- 
ing, as we say in Yorkshire. So 
they’ll tell vou so much — and if 
you’re bright enough to pick the 
rest up, they won’t say anything. 

“Stealing trades. I’ve stolen 
more trades — I can wire a house 
or put in plumbing, read a blue¬ 
print and machine a part to fine 



1^8 THE reader’s digest September 


precision clearances. I can run a 
ship’s wireless or stand in front of 
any industrial machine and have it 
figured out in ten minutes. 

‘*So you keep working, shifting, 
looking for the big chance — until 
suddenly you run into something. 
Bump! Head on. The production 
bosses like you, and there’s a good 
job up above you that you can 
move into if — 

“Then you suddenly 
see where life has fooled 
you. You haven’t got the 
if. The technical knowU 
edge. Brightness, willing¬ 
ness, energy - - they’re not 
enough. You think you 
see it. A chap has to have 
education, too. Education 
is — it is something other 
people have and you 
haven’t. And the desire for it is 
something that makes fortunes for 
men who have schools that adver¬ 
tise in magazines; ‘Do you want to 
be a wireless expert, a hydraulic 
engineer, a motor mechanic? These 
men make high wages. Enroll now 
for our course. Hundreds of jobs 
waiting . . .’ 

“It’s pitiful — that whole busi¬ 
ness. Kids burning with ambition, 
studying nights — and so many of 
them are never able to finish paying 
for the courses. Or suddenly they 
run smack up against the fact that 
you can’t do it. You left school too 
early. No amount of willing bright¬ 
ness alters the fact that there are 


geometry and chemistry that are 
great, blank areas. 

“Perhaps you give up at that 
point. Or perhaps you flower into a 
wild gorge of reading — a blaze of 
desire to know it all. You’re driven 
from a machine to mathematics, 
from math to industrial develop¬ 
ment, from industrial development 
to history, to political economy, to 
science, art, religion . . . 

“You read it all, want¬ 
ing to swallow the world 
entire, and building a re¬ 
ligion of books — until 
you have mental stom¬ 
ach-ache. 

“And that isn’t cured 
until the next great day 
dawns. The day when 
suddenly you see that 
reading alone won’t help. 
You must learn to think and 
reason independently. All the ac¬ 
cumulated knowledge of the earth 
only comes to us so that we can go 
on reasoning with greater clarity 

— reasoning things out — being 
wrong so many times — being right 
so very few times. But at least, 
knowing before your own con¬ 
science that you are not mouthing 
the words of other men — that at 
least, you have tried to see clearly. 

“And that is where I stand now 

— here, in the dark, with you, a 
girl named Prudence Cathaway. 
Talking to you — trying;:to tell you 
truthfully why I am what I am. 
I’ve told you, with, I hope, neither 




THIS ABOVE ALL 


149 


1941 

as truly as I could because — be¬ 
cause my own mean, grubby, dirty, 
useless little makeshift life has been 
so much like twenty or thirty mil¬ 
lion other lives in this land. Make¬ 
shift, paltry, aimless. 

“ I told you — because you made 
me angry --- with your false picture 
of Britain. A part of England is as 
you describe it. But for every one of 
your kind, Britain has a hundred 
living, longing, ill-educated, and 
usually thwarted little brats such as 
I was. And what have we to fight 
for in your England? Why should 
we preserve the rose weVe never 
been allowed to smell ? 

“Good people of England! Oh, 
good, brave, patient people of Eng¬ 
land! I want something so much 
better for you than always showing 
the world how patiently you can 
want in peace, and how uncom¬ 
plainingly you can die in war! 
Something — so much better.^* 

He lay still in the darkness, until 
he heard a sound. He turned and 
put his arm around her. 

“Oh, come, come now. It’s noth¬ 
ing to cry over.” He laughed and 
comforted her. “If you’re like that. 
I’ll never, never in my life again sit 
on a clifF top during a long night 
and tell you stories.” 

He felt her sitting up, shaking 
her head. Then she was speaking, 
her voice a ludicrous mixture of 
tears and laughing. 

“I can’t help it,” she said. “I 
keep thinking of the poor little boy 
who only had one pair of skates.” 


He laughed with her. 

“Now what a thing to remember 
— out of all I’ve told you. One pair 
was grand. If I’d had ten pairs - 
I’d have forgotten what a joy they 
were.” 

“ But that horrible dentist. Why 
didn’t you make a case of it?” 

“He’d made enough of a case of 
it, I suppose. And everybody knows 
in my world that in a free clinic 
they use poor people for experi¬ 
ments so that they can do better 
operations on the rich. So when I 
got manhandled, no one was sur¬ 
prised.” 

“I know,” she said. “It’s terri¬ 
ble. Father has seen a lot of it as a 
doctor. He has told me that parts 
of London are like that.” 

They were silent. Then he said; 
“One more thing I must tell you, 
and it’s more cheerful. About a fine 
old chap named Vollenbee. Ever 
hear of him?” 

“I don’t think so.” 

“Well, perhaps your father has, 
if he’s a doctor. I happened to meet 
him when he came to a machine 
shop to see if anyone could make a 
part for a high-speed camera he was 
rigging up. I got interested, and 
just for fun, I worked on it for him 
in my spare time. You know, you 
can’t have butcher machine parts 
for a precision instrument like a 
fine camera. It was — well, you 
know what a stroboscope is?” 
“No.” 

“It doesn’t matter. At all events, 
1 got this high-speed camera right 



JJO THE reader’s digest September 


for him, and he was fearfully pleased 
about it. So he let me in on what he 
was really working on and — well 
he asked me to chuck in with him. 
You see, Vollenbce’s after a new 
microscope. Something so vast — 
that all other types of microscopes 
will be ancient history. You know 
how a microscope works?” 

“ I’ve looked through my father’s.” 

“Well, your father’s will prob¬ 
ably give you 2000 powers. A light 
microscope. Then there’s an ultra¬ 
violet-ray type gives you up to 
5000 diameters on photos. But Vol- 
lenbee’s after something gigantic 
— revolutionary — an atomic mi¬ 
croscope. He was in touch with men 
in Germany on it — but the war’s 
killed that, now. But you see, build¬ 
ing it — you’ve got to machine 
parts of — oh — infinite exactitude 
and — well, I’ve told you I’m pretty 
good at machines—and Vollcnbee’s 
so damned patient with a chap. 
You see — he likes me. So he let me 
work on the construction. 

“He’s a great old bird. If he gets 
what he’s after— he’ll get micro- 
photographs of 250,000 diameters. 
A quarter of a million — to your 
father’s 2000. You see what that 
means?” 

“Why, yes, you’ll be able to find 
out about diseases . . 

“Well, we won’t, but other chaps 
will — bacteria, viruses, germs we’ve 
only suspected — perhaps soon at¬ 
oms — we’ll see them.” 

They sat a moment, unspeaking. 
Then she said: 


“ Clive . . . with that t^^ork be¬ 
fore you, and hating the war — 
what in the name of Heaven made 
you join up in the first place?” 

“I didn’t feel like that about it 
then, Prue. You see, we wanted to 
go. We wanted to do it long ago. 
We were the people of liberal 
thought, if you want to call it that. 
When Munich came, we wanted to 
fight. When Czechoslovakia was 
torn apart, we wanted to go. 

“But now I sec that it was too 
late— and I see that they’re going 
to bumble along in this war just as 
they did in peace. If the Empire 
dies, it will go down with the classic 
remark of Hitler missing the bus as 
the death-knell note of crass stu¬ 
pidity. 

“I believe they are perverting 
the goals of this war. They could 
only make it a true crusade by stat¬ 
ing our goals and aims. What are 
we fighting for? They say ‘We shall 
think of peace when we have won 
the war.’ That isn’t good enough —- 
not for me. I refuse to die for a pig 
in a poke.” 

“Clive, you may have had a rot¬ 
ten childhood, but that’s no reason 
to let resentment be the driving 
force of your life, and delight in 
everything that’s anti-British.” 

“Anti-British. Ah, Prue, I am 
not anti-British. For I tell you 
truly, I want no other land, I want 
no other people to live among. The 
common people of this land have 
virtues that — well, when the real 
bombing begins, all the world will 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


1941 


^51 


see the mettle of this island’s pas¬ 
ture. Not generals, not statesmen, 
but people of the slums and indus¬ 
trial warrens from which I came, 
will show the world something as 
shining and clear as a beacon head. 
Their bravery and cheerfulness and 
calm of spirit will stir the world to 
admiration.” 

The gray light of dawn was 
breaking over the cliff, and she 
could see him, sitting, nursing his 
knees, the tweed of his suit smelling 
damply from the dew, his keen- 
edged, cheerful type of face drawn 
with the intensity of his long 
speaking. 

‘‘If I ever do go back,” he said, 
“it will be not to die to win a war, 
one half as much as it will be to live 
to see that justice doesn’t get lost 
in the shuffle — justice, not for 
England, nor for Germany, but 
justice for poor, living, bleeding, 
bloody humanity.” 

“And who can give a justice for 
all.?” 

“I don’t know.” 

They were quiet, watching the 
cool dawn, hearing the first sea 
gulls screeching. At last he spoke. 

“Ah, well. We’ve talked a whole 
night away.” He looked at her, and 
then, seeing her clearly for the first 
time in many hours, and knowing 
again her beauty and the peace of 
her spirit, he smiled, quickly. She 
put out her hand, and he took it, 
and helped her up. She clung to his 
arm, and they went down from 
the cliffs, along the empty dawn 


streets, to the cold-looking hotel. 
She turned, and took a last look at 
the sea. 

“Clive, I’m so glad you talked. 
I know it was hard to do it.” 

“I talk once I got started.” 

“But I’m glad you told me — 
you got rid of a lot of it.” 

“It wasn’t exactly getting rid of 
it.” 

“Just having told someone will 
get rid of it.” She looked at the sea 
as she spoke. 

“And — and so — I know you’re 
going back.” 

. “Oh, now look here. If we 
start . . .” 

“No. Let me say it. I’ve heard 
all you’ve said, and so I know 
you’re going back. There’s some¬ 
thing will make you.” 

“What?” 

“You’ve told me only one side 
of you,” she said. “There are two 
sides of you — in conflict And I 
know which side’s going to triumph 
in the conflict. The one you’re re¬ 
pressing and denying. You’ll go 
back.” 

He shook his head, slowly. “No,” 
he said, “ I’m not going back.” 

T he morning sun shone brightly 
as they stood on the station 
platform, waiting for her train. He 
was staring at her, seeing the sweet 
symmetry of her features beneath 
her uniform cap, the silver edging 
of light on the ashen hair that was 
almost covered. He saw also the 
utter dejection in her eyes. 



THE reader’s digest 


153 

“Hey," he said. “Where’s the 
old school tie? Thumbs up! There’ll 
always be an England, eh?" He 
lifted her chin with his clenched 
fist. “You know, stiff upper lip-- 
what?" 

She laughed slowly at his mock¬ 
ing. “Clive," she said, “you must 
be careful. Don’t get into trouble. 
Where are you going? What are 
you going to do?" 

“Tve told you — I’ll have to fig¬ 
ure it out.” 

“But where will you go? Have 
you plenty of money?” 

The train came sweeping splen¬ 
didly round the curve, and the noise 
was greater than his voice. He 
nodded, and then spoke in her ear. 

“I’ll write vou." 

“When?” ■ 

“When -when something gets 
settled.” 

She was in the train, leaning 
from the window. He held her hand. 

“Look,” he said. “Worrying 
never helps. Don’t worry. Just re¬ 
member this is the way it had to be: 
Your conviction carries you one 
way — and mine carries me an¬ 
other, that’s all. We’re both being 
honest.” 

She started to speak, and then 
the train was moving, cruelly. He 
saw her lift her hands and let them 
fail in a gesture of helplessness. 
Then he turned and went quickly 
from the station. 

On the street, he took out his 
pocketbook and counted his money. 
Two pounds, and some change. As 


September 

• 

long as that lasted, it was all right. 
He could live, eat and be free. But 
after that — it would get harder. 
His leave was up at midnight to¬ 
night. After that — hare and hounds. 

He walked steadily through the 
Sabbath calm of the streets. Soon 
he left the town behind. 

T here w'as a railway bridge go¬ 
ing over the road. Under it the 
young .soldier stood, feeling lost and 
alone in the blackness. He thought 
it rare funny to be living a life that 
woke him up at odd hours and set 
him to standing there. There was 
really nothing to do. If anyone 
came along, you stood in the dark¬ 
ness and said: “Halt, who goes 
there?” According to the Sergeant 
they should say, “Friend,” and you 
said: “Advance, friend, and l)e 
recognized.” But they never said 
that. They said: “What the bloody 
hell — I’m on my way home.” And 
you had to let them go. You couldn’t 
do anything else. 

He hunched his shoulders, and 
counted the time. Surely his relief 
was almost due. Then he heard a 
sound on the road. Someone coming 
toward the town. He drew himself 
together, and advanced his left 
foot. 

“Halt! Who goes there?" he 
challenged. 

“ Friend,” the voice said. 

Private Davis stood confused. 
For once the answer had been cor¬ 
rect. Perhaps it was an orPeer of 
some sort. He sniff(^d. The footsteps 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


rS3 


IQ4T 


had stopped. What was next? Now 
he had it. 

“Advance, friend, and be reco’- 
ni/ed! 

He waited. He could hear faint, 
mysterious sounds out in the dark. 

«r 

He could half see a movement by 
the hedge. 

“Come on,” he said, coaxingly. 
“Advance and be reco’nized.” 

'rherc was still no answer. Yet 
there had certainly been someone 
out there---and now they were 
gone - through the bleeding hedge 
and up the hill, no doubt. 

Now who would do that? A Ger¬ 
man spy! A parachute troop chap. 
I’hat was it! Those Germans would 
have studied everything up. Only 
a (icrman spy would know enough 
to say “Friend” correctly. But 
what should he do? Fire his rifle? 
It would make a bloody awful row 
— and then thcre’d be the trouble 
of cleaning it in the morning. But 
you had to do something. 

“Corporal!” he yelled at the top 
of his lungs. “ Corporal! Corporal o* 
the Guard!” 

Clive, bent double, ran quickly 
up the hill. 

His mind said: Now — at last 
it’s started. You’ve been expecting 
it — waiting for it. Now it’s started. 
You’re on the run. Do it well. Give 
them a long run — a long, hard run. 
Do it well, please. 

Then he laughed to himself as 
another part of him spoke at the 
silliness of what he was doing. It 
seemed ridiculous — melodramatic. 


But if he’d gone on, perhaps the 
sentry would have asked for papers 
— and he’d have been arrested. 

Then his heart quickened, for he 
heard the sentry calling for the Cor¬ 
poral of the Guard. Why should his 
heart jump and his throat go sud¬ 
denly dry? The reaction of being 
hunted. That was it. It was as old 
as man — the fear when being 
hunted, the fear of the quarry. 
A terror, to be dreamed of. 

Suddenly he swore as he felt him¬ 
self stumbling into a flock of sheep. 
He heard them scampering and 
baaing as they eddied away from 
him like waves before the prow of 
a ship. 

Knee-deep in sheep — better than 
knec-deep in June. 

A new sound rose, sudden and 
menacing: a dog’s voice lifted to his 
left. He veered to the right and 
then felt the shock of his shins 
striking stone. A wall! 

He stood, expelling his breath at 
the pain of it. There was the voice 
of a man, urging the dog. That was 
too bad. Clive trotted away from 
that sound until his lungs began to 
ache from the exertion of running. 

“I^ok here, you’re damned 
tired,” he said. He must have cov¬ 
ered over 50 miles in the last two 
days. You couldn’t keep that up 
forever. 

He half saw a hedge before him. 
He. felt it with his hand — tall haw¬ 
thorn! He found a gap in it and 
went through to the road. It ran 
east and west. Which should it be? 



IS4 the reader S digest September 


West — go west, young man. West 
it was. 

He walked along until he noticed 
that he was limping. He sat by the 
hedge and pulled up his trousers leg. 
He could feel the stickiness of 
blood on his hand. He wet his 
finger with saliva and rubbed the 
wound tentatively. And then he 
heard a new sound, carrying far in 
the night stillness. The distant, 
shattering noise of a motorcycle 
being started. Then another. 

He got up, the fear of the hunted 
quick in his throat for a second 
again. Then he quieted it. Motor¬ 
cycles meant merely that he must 
leave the road. He climbed a stone 
wall. There was pasture under his 
feet. He'd find some place to 
sleep. 

He’d never wanted to sleep as 
much — not since Douai. Dunkirk 
— that had been beyond any de¬ 
sire. But coming up to Douai — 
then he’d been tired. And there was 
a haystack. He sank to his knees, 
and rested there a moment. He was 
asleep before he fell the rest of the 
way. 

Grimly, slowly, his mind strag¬ 
gled up. He started to close his 
eyes against too-strong light again, 
and then he remembered with a sort 
of anger that there was a pain in his 
side. A foot had kicked him. 

He blinked his eyes, and, looking 
up, saw the man. Instantly the 
flash came into his mind that it was 
so the peasant-worker hero was 


always photographed in the Soviet 
pictures — from below so that the 
figure loomed against the sky. 

Then the aching came into his 
flank like a delayed message, and 
he sat up, holding the aching spot. 

“You filthy swine,” he said. 

That was what had wakened him. 
The man had kicked him. Not 
stirring him with his foot, but kick¬ 
ing so that the heavy toe drove 
against the bone. Then he saw the 
man was holding a pitchfork within 
a foot of his face, and grinning, 
triumphant over his advantage. 
His eyes were narrow, piggish. 

Arise noble peasant, Clive thought. 
The noble peasant. 1 'he evil, cun¬ 
ning swine. 

“What t’hcll d’ye think y’re 
doing there 

“I slept here,” Clive said. He 
began patting and smacking his 
tweeds into cleanliness, rising from 
his knees, bending over, not looking 
at the man. “I’ve been taking a 
walking trip.” 

“Agrrh — y're no walking trip¬ 
per.” 

“How do you know?” 

The man thrust his chiii for¬ 
ward triumphantly. 

“ Because y*got no 'aversack! ” 

There it was. Finality. Haver¬ 
sack: walking tripper. No haver¬ 
sack; no walking tripper. How 
could one argue beyond such sim¬ 
plicity? 

“You could go on a walking trip 
without a haversack,” Clive said. 
His head ached furiously and his 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


^55 


1(^41 


weary mind drove him into fine 
debates. 

“They don’t,” the man said, 
cunningly. 

“ But you could. I-ook here — 

you’re a free Englishman, aren’t 

? »» 

1 cijrn* 

“'rhen, if you wanted to, you 
could go without a haversack, 
couldn’t you? No one could make 
you take a haversack.” 

“'I'hat they couldn’t.” 

“Well, there you are,” Clive said. 
He started away, casually and 
quickly. The man, belatedly, m()ved 
the pitchfork as if it were a bay¬ 
onet, at Clive’s throat. 

“Hold on,” he said. “There’s 
been a spy round ’ere loose all 
night. Y’d better come along o’ 
me and see the Colonel.” 

“Don’t be silly,” Clive said, 
gently. 

He put out his hand, quietly, and 
took the tines of the pitchfork and 
brushed them aside. I’hen he walked 
past. The man, undecided, puz¬ 
zled, let him push the weapon aside. 
But then he clutched Clive’s coat. 
“’Ere!” he said. 

Unreasoning anger possessed Clive. 
He twisted away, savagely. 

“Now don’t pull me around,” he 
said. 

They tussled, quickly, and Clive 
struck the man in the hollow space 
below the meeting of the ribs. 

The man gasped out an oath. As 
he reeled back, he swung the fork 
viciously, and Clive, trying to dodge 


the blow, felt the tines crashing 
against his skull behind the ear. 
There was a roaring in his head 
from the concussion. He did not 
know until he saw the man, lying 
by the haystack, clutching his 
bleeding mouth, that he had lashed 
out and caught him fully on the 
face. He rubbed his knuckles, a 
slow tentative rubbing. 

“There,” he said, quietly. “Now, 
let me alone.” 

He turned and walked away to 
the north. He was halfway to the 
hedge when he felt sudden nausea 
from the pain on the side of his 
head. He bent, holding his stomach, 
retching. He spat, and straightened. 
Looking back, he saw the man 
running to the farm buildings. He 
felt too sick to go on, so he retraced 
his footsteps and went back to the 
haystack and sat down. 

'I'he next time he looked round 
the stack, the man was pedaling 
furiously down the side lane on a 
bicycle. 

Now, Clive thought, it is all up. 
I’m too tired to get up and walk, 
and they’ll have men all over. At 
least, though. I’ll have a good rest. 
If he didn’t see me come back, 
they won’t search this haystack till 
later. When they don’t find me, 
they’ll doubt his story, and he’ll 
come back here to show just where 
I slept and what he said and what 
I said. And by that time I’ll have 
more strength. I’ll give ’em a run 
yet. 

Half idly his mind became quite de- 



156 THE READER S DIGEST September 


tached and interested in what was 
happening — as if it were another 
person. Lying by the haystack, 
he watched the road for nearly a 
half hour. Then he saw figures com¬ 
ing up the road — the man and a 
constable, both on bicycles. Soon 
after there was a car, with men 
clinging to the running boards. 
They turned into the farmyard. 
Then he saw the men debouching 
from the farm buildings, spreading 
out, doubling toward the sky line 
at the north. 

It was so pretty he smiled. When 
they had gone over the brow of the 
land, he felt sudden disappoint¬ 
ment, as at the end of a game. Laz¬ 
ily, he got up and strolled to the 
farm. He felt lightheaded and con¬ 
fident as he came into the yard. 
A chained dog barked and the 
farmer’s wife came to the kitchen 
door. 

“Good morning,” he said. 

“Did you get him.?” the woman 
called. 

“I don’t think so.” 

“Oh.” 

She would wonder . . . 

“They sent me back to guard 
the transport.” 

“Oh, is that it? You look as if 
you’d been in a mess.” 

“Yes — I fell on a wall.” 

“Would y’like a cup o’tea?” 

“ I would,” he said. “ But — I 
can’t leave my post, and . . 

“There’s some ready now,” she 
said. “I’ll just bring y’a cup out 
to th’ step.’’ 


She brought him the tea, and he 
drank, the warmth bringing tears 
to his eyes. He gave her the thick 
mug back, and walked over to the 
bicycles. The constable’s was the 
better machine — but heavier. 

He got on the other one, rode 
steadilv down the lane, and turned 
west along the highway. At a curve, 
another carload of men flashed 
past him, but when he waved his 
hand, tliere were answering waves. 

No use worrying, he said, calmly. 
He came to a crossroad of five 
corners. He took the road going 
southeast, pedaling without hurry. 

T he girl stood beside the little 
car, so intent on what she was 
doing that she did not hear the 
man on the bicycle dismount beside 
her. 

“What’s up.?” Clive said. She 
glanced around, too annoyed to be 
startled. 

“I’m stuck. And don’t ask me if 

I’ve got petrol. I have!” 

He went to the tiny car and 

¥ 

looked under the lifted hood. 

“Get in and step on it,” he said. 
“Do you know anything about a 
car?” 

She was staring at his crumpled 
clothes. 

“I’m a wizard with them. Step 
on the starter.” 

The girl got in the car and he 
heard the starter whirr. He flipped 
his hand back as the hot spark from 
the plug stung his outstretched 
finger. 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


157 


1941 

“Those things’ll give you a 
shock,” the girl said. 

“I know, I know,” he said, an¬ 
grily. “It's the quickest way. Fm 
in a hurry. Choke it with the 
ignition on.” 

He heard the whirr, the cough, 
half-fire, and shuddering dying 
away. Then he laughed, remember¬ 
ing the particular faults of that 
make of car. He locked the bonnet. 

“ Move over,” he said. 

The young woman stared at him, 
antagonistically. 

“It won’t start,” she said. 

“What’ll you bet?” he laughed. 

She flounced over in the seat. 
He got in, took off the brake, and 
let the car roll back down the gen¬ 
tle slope. He slipped in the gear. 

“That’s high speed forward,” 
she snapped. 

He did not answer. He let out 
the clutch, and heard the pistons 
going backward, driving air into the 
carburetor. He stopped the car, 
then stepped on the starter. The en¬ 
gine coughed and then roared. 

He meshed in the gears, and 
started the car down the road, eas¬ 
ing into top gear and going along 
with the engine humming. 

She tapped his arm. 

“All right. Thank you.” 

“I’ll drive for a bit,” he said. 
“I’m going this way.” 

“But — but your bicycle.” 

“It isn’t mine,” he said. “Just 
borrowed.” 

She was quiet a moment. Then 
she blazed: 


“I^ok here! Stop this car and 
get out! If you don’t. I’ll — I’ll 
have you arrested by the first 
policeman I see.” 

“Don’t do that,” he said. “It 
would make me angry. I’m tired. 
I’m a Jack the Ripper — a very 
dangerous sort of chap — unless 
I’m let alone.” 

She was quiet, and then he heard 
her sobbing. He slowed the car. 

“Ia)ok here,” he said. “Don’t be 
frightened. Or are you just pre¬ 
tending so that I’ll get out?” 

She sat up as if she’d been stuck 
with a pin, and he saw her face was 
dry. 

“I’m damned well not afraid of 
any man,” she said. “If you had any 
decency you’d get out.” 

“And if vou had decency >'ou 
wouldn’t have pretended to cry.” 

He drove silently. 

“Flow far are you going?” he 
said. 

“To Little Reshmore — about 
thirty miles west of here. And 
when we get there I’ll have you 
turned in.” 

“Oh, dear,” he said, wearily. 
“You know you won’t.” 

“I will. So help me I will.” 

He drove carefully, knowing he 
was tired and afraid his coordina¬ 
tion might be below par. 

“Who are you running away 
from?” she snapped. 

“I’m not running away from 
anything. In fact, Fm running after 
something. A man in pursuit of his 
conscience.” 



is8 THE READER S DIGEST September 

P 


“Running away from your con¬ 
science, most likely.’* 

“That’s the usual case, but I’m 
an unusual one.” 

She studied him. 

“Look, would you mind driving 
a little faster? I’m late now. I drive 
much faster than this.” 

“Women do,” he said. “These 
clockwork cars fall apart after a 
year if you push them.” 

“What’s wrong with this car?” 

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to insult 
your car. What do you do in 
Little Reshmore?” 

She stared straight ahead. 

“I’m a district nurse.” 

“Have vou been out on a case?’* 

“No. Yes.” 

“Which?” 

“No. I’ve been visiting a friend.” 

He turned his head and glanced 
at her quickly. 

“Why do you wear those terrible 
horned-rimmed glasses?” he asked. 

“For my eyesight,” she snapped. 

“You needn't have those goggle 
rims. 

She sighed. 

“ It makes me more professional¬ 
looking. Makes the damned people 
more liable to do what I tell ’em.” 

“It’s a shame,” he said. “You’d 
be quite good-looking without 
them.” 

“Eyewash,” she snapped. 

“You know it’s true. You’re 
very pretty.” 

“I should have someone to tell 
me that every morning,” she said 
slowly. “It would help.” 


“Doesn’t he tell you?” 

“Who?” 

“The friend that you visited?” 

“I ... I didn’t say it was a 
he.” 

“It’s all right,” he said. “Living 
can be a bloody mess, can’t it? 
And full of trouble, and posing. It’s 
none of my business. Forgive me.” 

She sat quietly. Then she studied 
him, carefully. 

“You know,” she said. “You’re 
a queer sort. Who’s after you?” 

“That’s my worry,” he said. 

“ 1 suppose you know you’ve got 
a nasty laceration behind your ear.” 

“Is the skin broken?” 

“It is.” 

“I/)ok,” he said. “What’s this 
town ? ” 

“I won’t give information . . .” 

“I don’t care, but I want to know 
— are you going to make a fuss?” 

“I must. It’s my duty.” 

“Ah, duty,” he said. “In that 
case, I must drive round the town 
some way. You’ll be later than 
ever.” 

She did not answer. 

“Ix)ok,” he said. “I’ll make a 
compact. You keep quiet, I’ll 
drive you to Little Reshmore and 
get out quietly. If I do that, what 
will you do then?” 

“Report you,” she said. “I 
have to. There’s a war on. I don’t 
know who you are.” 

He nodded. 

“You’ll not do anything in this 
town we’re coming to?” 

“All right.” 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


1941 

“Then here we go. 

They went through the town, 
not speaking, and came out onto 
the open highway. 

“How far now?” he asked. 

“.About five miles.” 

“You’re xStill going to turn me 
in?” 

“I must.” 

“Look,” he said. “Give me ten 
minutes’ grace. Even animals get 
that, don’t they? Don’t they let 
the fox have some grace or some¬ 
thing like that?” 

“I don’t know,” .she said. “I’m 
not interested in hunting. If you 
saw as much filth and neglect and 
poverty as 1 do, you’d not be very 
interested in pink coats, either.” 

“We are traveling together in 
more ways than one now,” he said. 
“Bravo, and up the rebels. 7 'hen 
give me ten minutes’ start. It’s 
sporting.” 

She was silent. 

“We’re almost there,” he said. 
“Ten minutes?” 

“All right,” she said. “You un¬ 
derstand. I’m sorry. But I must.” 

“Every man must follow his 
convictions,” he said. “It’s all 
right. I’ve not done anything bad. 

I just want time, that’s all.” 

“ Park over there,” she said. 

He eased the car to a stop and 
opened the door. 

“Thank you,” he said. “You’ve 
been decent.” 

He saw she was holding back the 
cufF on her left arm with her right 
forefinger, staring at her watch. 


>59 

“Nine minutes and forty sec¬ 
onds,” she intoned. 

He grinned, and looked at her 
face, 

“ I still insist, without theglasses, 
you’d be very pretty.” 

She bit her lip. 

“Nine minutes and thirty sec¬ 
onds.” 

Then she looked up. 

“Oh, please don’t try my pa¬ 
tience,” she said. “I . . . I . . .” 

“I’ll go. I’m sorry.” 

“Wait. Get in this car.” 

He got in again, .slowly. 

. “Don’t tell me you’re going to 
drive me further?” he said. 

“No!” She was opening her bag. 
“Turn your head.” 

He twisted his chin toward his 
.shoulder, and then felt the bite of 
medication stinging behind his ear. 
She painted quickly about the 
bruised .swelling. Then he felt her 
pressing the taped ends of a band¬ 
age. When it was done he turned 
to her. 

“Why did you do that — tell me 
— 1 always wonder about people.” 

“It’s my training — you neglect 
cuts and scratches, and get infec¬ 
tions and sores, and then . . . 1 t’s 
my duty to do it, that’s all.” She 
looked up fiercely. “But it’s my 
duty to turn you in, too, and I’m 
going to — and don’t think I’m 
not. Now this time I really won’t 
stop. It’s ten minutes.” 

She looked at her watch. 

“Go,” she said, almost as if 
starting a childhood race. 



THE reader's digest 


i 6 o 


September 


He slipped from the car and 
walked along the pavement. At the 
corner, he halted. Then he came 
back. 

“Nine minutes and twenty sec¬ 
onds,” she said. “Please go!” 

“I know,” he said. “1 just want 
to tell you. This car — it’s the 
garageman’s delight. They make 
fortunes on that carburetor. It’s 
the bug in the design — a spot of 
dust can put it blooey.” 

“Nine minutes and five 
seconds.” 

“(laragemen know it 
— hail it with delight, 
ril bet you’ve had the 
same trouble a dozen 
times — and paid five 
bob every time. All you 
do . . .” 

“Eight minutes and 
fifty seconds.” 

“. . . is get to a slope when it 
begins to cough, let it roll, and put 
it in an opposite gear. Under¬ 
stand?” 

“Eight minutes and twenty-five 
seconds. Yes. I’ve heard what you 
said and thank you.” 

“That’s for fixing my head — 
,my duty, too, you know. Good¬ 
bye.” 

“Eight minutes and ten seconds. 
Good-bye.” 

He went quickly away, round the 
corner to the public square. At one 
side a knot of busses eddied toward 
the pavement. He ran over, and 
caught one that was moving away. 
He could still feel the girl count¬ 


ing. He put his hand to his ear, and 
felt the bandage. She would have 
to report that, too, of course. Duty! 
He pulled it off”, quickly, feeling the 
throb in his head as the gummed 
tape tugged at the skin. 

H e came into reluctant waken¬ 
ing, tasting his mouth and 
feeling the warmth of his face on 
one side where it had lain on his 
hands. 

He saw the mug of 
beer before him, still un¬ 
tasted, and then remem¬ 
bered coming into the 
pub. The man behind him 
shook his shoulder again. 

“Come on. Closing 
time!” 

He felt the man’s tone 
— the brusque one that 
publicans used to drunks and va¬ 
grants — people who fell asleep in 
pubs. 

He walked sleepily from the 
place, and went into the blackness. 
His mind was reiterating a foolish 
song — one that a lad had sung at 
the billets in France before it all 
started: 

Don’t send my boy to Eton! 

Please send him down to Lime- 
house instead. 

Before I’d see him sigh about the 
old school tie, 

I’d sooner see the little blighter 
dead . . . 

He walked along briskly to the 
unsung tune. But soon he found 
himself sitting weakly on the edge 







THIS ABOVE ALL 


1941 

of the roadside ditch. He lay down 
and went to sleep. 

With no halt in time he was 
awake again, hearing a noise that 
he knew he had heard many times 
in half-waking. It was broad day¬ 
light and the sun was high. He lay, 
eyes open, until the noise came 
again: the sound of a motorcar rac¬ 
ing past within a few feet of his 
head — a whooshing of torn air 
and the thrum of the motor droning 
away. Going past: Hhhhhhwoowhh! 

He thought: Curious none of 
them saw me. 

Then he remembered how the 
speed of a car strangely disengaged 
its driver from the world he was 
moving through. 

He got up and continued walk¬ 
ing, steadily. 

It was late in the afternoon 
when he sat down to rest on a 
churchyard wall. He sat staring at 
the gravestones quite contentedly 
until dusk. He wanted nothing, de¬ 
sired to do nothing. 

His mind was roused from this 
curious blank contentedness only 
when he saw the minister coming 
from the church to the rectory. 
Clive watched him, thinking the 
white surplice, blowing gently, 
made him look like a moth in the 
dusk. Then he saw the man was 
looking at him, inquiringly. 

“Oh,r m not a parachute trooper 
—a German disguised as any¬ 
thing — you can search me for 
weapons if you wish.’* 


161 

Clive heard his words and men¬ 
tally played the record of them 
back to himself in a sort of aston¬ 
ishment. He was protesting too 
much. He should have said some¬ 
thing else. The man had stopped. 
Clive looked at him and smiled. 

“The trouble is,” Clive said, 
“that you look too much the part.” 

That did not seem clear, cither. 

“What I mean is — too much 
like the ones who play the roles in 
the cinema.” 

He thought that did make sense, 
for it was so true. There was the 
complete makeup: the delicately 
silvered hair, the calm eyes, the in¬ 
ner peace that molded the face into 
tranquillity. 

But the man was startled. lie 
hadn’t said the right thing again. 
He must concentrate. 

“Can I do anything for you?” 
the minister said. 

Ah, Christianity! The helping 
hand! 

Clive got down from the ^yall. 

“No,” he said, coldly. “You 
can’t help any of us.” 

His eye saw the dim words on the 
gravestone. He read aloud: 

“Here rests with God Aram 
Fletcher of the Parish of Wythe. 
B. 1742. D. 1821.” 

He looked up. 

“Now he lived through Napo¬ 
leon,” he went on. “He must have 
gone through just the same . . 

The thought trickled away and 
he followed another. 

“It’s funny,” he said. “All over 



j62 the reader's digest SepUmber 


they’ve pulled down thousands of 
signposts — for safety. Just think 
thousands of parachuters dropping 
from the sky and, being a very 
methodical race, marching to the 
first signpost — and it isn’t there. 
So they’ll be baffled. They’ll stop 
and say: ‘We’re lost! Heil Hitler! 
We can go no further!’ 

“Because you don’t think the 
Hun’d sink so low as to read these 
gravestones and know he was in 
Wythe, if so — out with the grave¬ 
stones —” 

He saw the pain on the man’s 
face. 

“Oh, now,” he said. “I didn’t 
mean destroy them. Don’t destroy 
old England. Stain not the old 
school tie. Because . . .” 

He looked at the church, rapidly 
becoming a silhouette in the twi¬ 
light. 

“It’s beautiful — Norman, isn’t 
it?” he said. “Truly old.” 

“Yes, truly old,” the minister 
said, slowly. 

Clive leaned on the wall with his 
arms folded. He was conscious of a 
trancelike weariness, and yet his 
tongue ran on. 

“You know,” he said, “they 
must have believed in those days. 
Really and truly believed — to make 
yielding flesh shape stubborn stone 
— and nice words I’m using about 
it, too — putting one piece on an¬ 
other to remind us that faith lives 
longer than mortal body.” 

“A moment ago you were willing 
to see such things destroyed.” 


“That’s right,” Clive said. “lam 
talking in circles, aren’tfl? But I 
mean no one has faith today. Not 
that kind of faith.” 

“Perhaps you speak only for 
yourself, my boy.” 

“How nicely you reprove me. 
You’re a nice chap. You’re not a 
pipe-smoking parson, nor a horsy 
one, nor a backslapper, nor a Holy 
Joe — have you seen the kind that 
say damn and slap you on the back 
to show you they’re almost as 
human as you are? Don’t you want 
to convert me?” 

“I only feel rather sorry for you 
my boy. For your rudeness, and — 
no, that is a little thing. I’m sorry 
for anyone who hasn’t the comfort 
of faith — and the peace of belief 
in prayer.” 

“Oh, but I have. I have found 
peace in prayer.” He laughed, quickly. 
“Don’t let anyone kid you, padre. 
When you’re in a jam you pray — 
even chaps like me. At Douai I 
prayed to God and Jesus and Bud¬ 
dha and the Pope and the Virgin 
Mary — every one. I was a bit too 
tired to pray later on. But when I 
could pray, 1 didn’t miss any of’em 
— it’s no use taking chances when 
it doesn’t cost any more, is it?” 

The minister turned away, and 
then looked back, quickly. 

“You were in France?” 

“Yes.” 

“What are you doing here?” 

“ I was going to get round to the 
pleasure of deciding that when I 
had a free moment.” 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


163 


“But you were in France?” 

“Oh, yes, truly. Very truly I was. 
Does that make a difference? It 
makes me — one of our boys, doesn’t 
it? You should ask me in to tea. 
That’s what’s supposed to happen.” 

“You’re — not in uniform.” 

“No. You see — I’m a deserter.” 

The minister looked at the ground. 

“Now you should ask me in to 
tea,” Clive said. “It’s the thing — 
almost like ‘so that the scriptures 
might be fulfilled.’” 

'I'he minister frowned, and mo¬ 
tioned for Clive to follow him. 
“ Please don’t walk on the graves,” 
he said. 

“We shall soon trample on the 
dying, but we shall always keep 
off the dead. Isn’t it easy to talk 
this way? It’s perhaps the religious 
influence.” 

He felt himself swallowed in a 
pit of sickness, and he walked, con¬ 
serving his strength. He followed 
through doors, to a room with a 
fire burning. He sat in a chair be¬ 
fore it, feeling the warmth drug¬ 
ging him. He did not know when 
he went to sleep. He only remem¬ 
bered waking. The minister had 
changed from his robes. He looked 
much frailer in his dark-gray suit. 
A woman was placing a tray on the 
table. Then she was gone. 

“My name is Polkingthorne,” 
the minister said, soberly. 

“And mine’s Halliburton — Rich¬ 
ard Halliburton — alias Clive Han¬ 
ley, a famous explorer. Deserters 
always use aliases.” 


“Sugar?” 

“It doesn’t matter. Just as long 
as it’s something warm. It’s funny 
being famished and very tired. 
Makes you feel religious.” 

“It isn’t necessary to talk like 
that.” 

“I’m sorry. I’ve talked too much 
lately. Far, far too much. I wouldn’t 
talk like this if I weren’t tired. It 
puts you in a floating sort of space 
and the tongue wags — but you 
think you’re seeing with great clar¬ 
ity. I see now why the saints fasted 
— you get into an ecstasy and — 
I might pop off a revelation any 
moment.” 

The minister handed the tea. 

“Your tongue must have been 
your worst enemy all your life,” 
he said. “It’s a knotted whip flag¬ 
ellating your own back.” 

“No, I’ve been a pretty quiet 
chap. It’s just recently that I’ve 
started vomiting so many words. 
It’s getting to be a habit. I wouldn’t 
gabble now except — you know — 
the tiredness. Makes me most un- 
British, doesn’t it?” 

“You might eat instead of talk- 
ing.” 

Clive ate, silently, and then felt 
suddenly too full. 

“I can’t — eat any more,” he 
said. 

“Rest a moment, and then trv 
again.” 

“No. It’s all right. I’m sorry I 
was so glib and petty. I should go.” 

“Where?” 

“Oh—just along. There’s no- 



164 the reader’s digest September 


where — I can’t stay here. Or — 
I could. I come in and cry sanc¬ 
tuary. Isn’t that it? Sanctuary! 
Then no one can take me away.” 

“There is a sanctuary in the 
church — not a physical one any 
more. A greater one. A spiritual 
one. 

“No,” said Clive, “not for me. 
The church failed in the last war. 
You played politics so that God 
was on both sides. The church has 
blessed too many wars in the name 
of justice for both sides.” 

He rose and picked up his cnim- 
pled felt hat. “ I should go. Thanks 
for being patient. And keep your 
fine old church meaningless and 
empty while all the vermin . . .” 
He paused seeming to forget what 
he was going to say, and then went 
on: “. . . nowinfestingthewounds 
of the old, diseased lion slowly eat 
him to death.” 

“The lion isn’t dead yet, my 
boy. It’s alone — but not dead. 
And come the four corners of the 
earth and we shall shock them.” 

“It’s three corners, padre. Quote 
correctly — and then finish it. 
Finish it. If England to herself—' 
do — rest — but — true! 

“Do rest but true! There’s the 
rub. England has been true to some 
things — but she hasn’t been true 
to the people who are herself. Well, 
good-bye and thank you. It’s been 
a very enlightening conversation 
I — you’ll report me?” 

“That is for my own conscience.” 

“ Don’t let your conscience work 


too quickly, padre. A nurse, the 
other morning, gave me ten min¬ 
utes’ grace. The church can hardly 
do less than the laity.” 

“You know, you’re sick, my boy. 
Is there anything. . . .” 

“Just a bit lightheaded, padre.” 

“Wait. You’ve said things that 
make me very angry — if I were 
younger — years ago . . .” 

“I’m sorry.” 

“No, that doesn’t matter. But I 
want to make you understand one 
thing. I sec you as a symbol of your 
age. You’re a product of the age of 
reason — not the age of faith. Be¬ 
cause you have no intellectual be¬ 
lief in a hereafter, you deny your¬ 
self the lifelong comfort of faith in 
the soul’s immortality.” 

Clive passed his hand over his 
face. 

“You’re mixing me up — and 
I’m tired,” he said. “Do you mean 
that you’d have us have faith in a 
thing when our reason tells us we 
can’t believe in it?” 

“Yes.” 

“Do you believe in the soul and 
the hereafter — heaven, hell, God’s 
throne?” 

“I do not believe intellectually 
in them, and yet I have faith in 
them. Any fool can have faith in 
what reason tells him is certain. 
Faith is the'quality of believing 
beyond reason. 

“Remember that — and when 
the world has faith again — so 
many troubles will vanish and 
problems be solved. Communism, 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


1941 


165 


Fascism, these are mere intellectual 
conclusions. But conclusions of 
faith will solve what these cannot. 
That’s all you are looking for now. 
You’re looking for something — 
something — in which to have faith. 
You’re trying to find it by intellec¬ 
tual processes — and that’s what 
the world is doing. 

“ Don’t rhink, my boy. Feel! 
Consult your feelings, not your rea¬ 
sonings. If you do — your problem 
will be over. You’ll — you’ll go 
back to your regiment or post or 
whatever it is in the army.” 

“Ah, there was a girl who said 
that — a beautiful girl who b^ 
lieved that . . .” 

Clive put his hand against the 
wall and turned his head, feeling 
suddenly sick. 

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Sorry I 
had to talk to you like that.” 

He stumbled awav, but heard 
the man call. So he halted by the 
door without turning round. He 
heard the minister speaking. 

“God go with you. I — I shall 
pray for you.” 

“Yes,” he answered, without 
looking back into the room. “Pray 
for me. Pray for yourself, too. Why 
not take in a little more ground 
while you’re at it. Pray for England 
— all poor, bloody England. No — 
pray for humanity. For every last 
poor devil who’s going to blow 
somebody up — or be blown up 
himself; or who’s going to be torn 
or wounded or drowned or buried 
or burned or gassed in this war. 


Pray for poor, stinking, lost hu¬ 
manity.” 

He went out quickly into the 
close, feeling the burn of his own 
anger and shame for having talked 
like an orator. He saw the twilight 
had faded, and the bats were fly¬ 
ing, diving toward the portal light, 
making their screaky sounds as 
they plunged and rose. 

The grass smelled newly fresh 
and the dew was heavy. In the dis¬ 
tance somewhere he heard the sound 
of a girl’s laugh. Suddenly his long¬ 
ing for Prudence swept him so that 
he felt it in the pit of his stomach. 

He turned down the road toward 
the south, going through the town 
and out along the highroad. 

A Linn.E WAV out of the town he 
came to a crossroad, with a 
tall beech tree to one side which 
seemed familiar. He stared at its 
dark outline, and then laughed in 
sudden recognition. So that’s what 
you’ve been d()ing, he sajd mentally 
— circling back like a lost animal 
toward the place from which you 
started. VV'^ell then, the cliff where 
he and Prue had talked through 
the whole night was only a short 
distance away, across the fields to 
the left. 

He felt lightheaded again. But he 
nodded in appreciation, almost, of 
his own astuteness in working to 
such a goal. He swung from the 
road to the open downs, going 
through the tough grass steadih', 
wearily, but with a certain great 



i66 


THE reader’s digest 


September 


satisfaction. Tonight he would sleep 
on that same cliff. 

“You have walked a long way 
to get here,” he said. ‘‘Tomorrow 

tomorrow . . . There is no¬ 
where else to go tomorrow. This is 
the end. You have got here. There 
is nowhere to go afterwards.” 

This seemed like quite satisfac¬ 
tory and pleasing reasoning. He 
nodded his head at it. 

“ But — tomorrow — what are 
you going to do?” he said. ‘‘Reason 
it out now. Now that vou’re think- 
ing clearly. Decide on your next 
move.” 

Then suddenly, bla/ingly, tri¬ 
umphantly, it all became very clear. 

“Tomorrow you go and give your¬ 
self up!” 

It was such a delightful idea that 
he laughed inside himself. Truth 
was, he thought, a very simple 
thing — not complex or chaotic. 

“You’re not running away be¬ 
cause you are a coward,” he said. 
“But you can’t prove that to any¬ 
one else. All your reasons for going 
back and not going back cancel out. 
Therefore it’s a draw. Maybe the 
minister was right about reason 
versus faith. 

“The reason in you says you 
don’t want to fight in such a warped 
and ill-defined war. The faith in 
you says you must fight so that 
Britain won’t lose. Brain and emo¬ 
tion, deadlocked in a struggle — 
your body the battle ground. 

“See how simple and clear it is? 
You can’t go on running any more 


— you’re too tired, exhausted. So 
you give yourself up, present your 
mental and emotional opponents 
to headquarters, and throw the 
whole mess in their laps. They’ll 
have to decide.” 

He smiled secretly again. It was 
such a good joke — putting the 
whole mess up to them. Let them 
have the worry. 

“Look here, this chap has two 
opposing selves that cancel out. 
What can we do’with him?” Noth¬ 
ing in Army Regulations, nothing 
in the King’s Rules and Orders, no 
precedent. “Well, if he cancels out, 
the chap isn’t there. He’s dead. 
Report him missing in action.” 

He smiled happily at the sim¬ 
plicity of it all. 

T he dawn broke splendidly from 
the cliff where he had slept. 
Clive felt refreshed and strangely 
at peace with himself as he came 
down the path into the town and 
went to the hotel. He had left the 
handbag containing his uniform 
with the clerk, and he wondered if 
the luggage agent might have been 
notified to watch for him. But to his 
relief the bag was handed over 
without comment. 

He went to the ticket office and 
said: “What time’s the next Lon¬ 
don train?” 

“From or to?” 

The voice made him conscious of 
the man — the voice of a person 
who loves to talk, to quibble. 

“To.” 



TrtlS ABOVE ALL 


1941 

“In about — five and twenty- 
minutes, sir.” 

“Thanks. Where’s the lavatory?” 

“Over there.” 

Clive went into the place, which 
smelled as only such places smell. 
He peeled off his coat, took his 
small kit from the handbag, and 
washed and shaved carefully. He 
felt much better and more capable 
after washing. Then he changed 
into his uniform. He stuf¬ 
fed the civilian clothes in 
the handbag, put his 
washing kit into his hav¬ 
ersack and slung it over 
his shoulder. 

“There. That part’s 
finished,” his mind said. 

“Now you've burned that 
bridge behind you.” He 
returned to the ticket 
window. 

“One for London,” he said. 

“ Oh-er,” said the man, “ so you’re 
a soldier; have to see yer pass.” 

Clive handed it over and the man 
studied it. He shook his head. 
Clive prompted him. 

“Yes, I know it’s overdue, but 
you don’t have to report me. I want 
to get back to my regiment . . 

“Was y’in Frawnce?” 

“ Yes.” 

“Oh-er!” The man cuddled the 
pass and leaned forward on his 
elbows. “How was it, mate?” 

“ Bloody hell.” 

“I bet.” He rubbed his smudged 
chin. 

“Ix)ok here, mate,” he said at 


i6y 

last. “I should turn you over to 
the R.T.O., y’know — but — I’m 
an old soldier meself. I know what 
it’s like. Yer go on leave — and go 
on a bloody good rickety-rack — 
and there y’are — a few days over¬ 
due.” 

“You’ll sell me the ticket, then?” 

“I shouldn’t,” the man said. 
“But . . .” 

He passed over the ticket and 
Clive handed him the last 
pound note. 

“Thank you,” he said. 
“Where can I get,paper 
and envelope?” 

“Ah, want to write 
your girl?” 

“Yes.” 

“That’s what 1 like to 
see. You write her, and 
get it oflF yer chest and 
go on back — you can’t get above a 
few days C.B. at most. Right down 
on the platform — at the news 
counter. The girl’ll sell you some.” 

“Thanks. Look — there’s a good 
pigskin bag in the lavatory — got 
a good tweed suit in it. Pair of 
shoes, too. You can have the lot.” 

He turned away abruptly, went 
to the stall on the platform and 
bought a cheap ruled pad and 
envelopes. Sitting on a bench, he 
began writing, quickly. 

Dear Prue: 

I couldn’t write you until I had 
decided — had something to say. 
Now 1 have. 

You were right in a way. I am go¬ 
ing back. But only partially right. 




i6S 

I’m going back to tell them what 
I told you — or as much of it as 
they’ll listen to. 

I don’t do it as a martyr — 
wouldn’t make a good martyr, I’m 
afraid. I do it, truly, because I can’t 
go on being a hare to their hounds. 

1 make a bad criminal. I loathe be¬ 
ing chased and hate myself for hid¬ 
ing every time I see a uniform. 
It’s a sort of unclean feeling. 

Good-bye — and our coming from 
darkness into the light of knowing 
each other was very very sweet. 
What will happen to me in the 
great machine of the’Army, J don’t 
know. I don’t care. I am tired. But 
don’t worry. I’ll let you know what 
happens. Some day we’ll be out of 
all this. And until that day I hope 
you are my friend, as 1 am 
Yours, 

Private 2265657 
QODLI, I.T.D., 
B.E.F. 

It crushes the ego to know that 
that collection of figures and letters 
means me — and me alone of all 
the people in the world. That’s 
what man rebels about in all life — 
being letters and figures — a sym¬ 
bol. 

Shall we meet again after this 
war’s over? I hope so. 

— Clive. 

He addressed the envelope to the 
W.A.A.F. camp at Gosley, and 
gave the letter to the girl at the 
counter. 

Now everything was over. He 
had only to wait for the train. 

It was on the train that he knew. 
He knew it with blinding clarity. 


September 

He had been asleep, and* woke 
feeling that he was smiling in his 
contentment. Then he had let his 
mind play softly, as he lay back, 
his eyes closed. His mind, at peace 
at last, played with memories. Prue. 
He must talk to Prue again. He 
must tell Prue what he felt. It was 
all so clear to him now. . . . 

Suddenly a great impatience con- 
sSumed him. 

lie beat his fist on his knee. If 
only the train would hurry to 
London. If only the damned, crawl¬ 
ing train would move. There was 
so much to do before he gave him¬ 
self up! 

At London, he half-ran down the 
platform. He was almost at the 
ticket-taker’s gate before he saw 
the M.P. and remembered then 
that part of his existence. He had 
forgotten about that. 

If he got arreked now — but he 
mustn’t be arrested yet! Not until 
he talked to Prue. 

He went back to his empty car¬ 
riage, opened the far window, dropi^cd 
to the tracks, and walked up a 
deserted platform. Ahead, the gates 
were locked, but to one side he saw 
a handrail, where a bridge crossed 
a street. He crawled through the 
railing, hung for a moment over the 
sidewalk, and then dropped. The 
jar as he landed seemed to shake 
every bone. As he got up, painfully, 
from the pavement, a man and two 
women half-paused, looking at him 
— hesitating. 

He lifted his hand to them, 


THE reader's digest 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


J941 

smiling, and then walked away 
quickly into the London crowd, not 
looking back. 

A'l’ LAST the door was opening. 
A“Why, Mr. Hanley!” 

“Hello, Mrs. Anderson. I was 
ringing Mr. Vollenbee’s bell. He 
isn’t home?” 

“Why now, you’ve just missed 
him. He went out a half hour ago.” 

“Oh, hang it,” he said. “I wanted 
to put a call through on his tele¬ 
phone.” 

“'I'hat’s all right,” the woman 
said. “Come in.” 

He went into the dim vestibule 
aiui she clicked on the light and 
fumbled with a ring of keys. 

“1 never expected to see you,” 
she went on. “He told me you was 
wounded and went to hospital.” 

“No, 1 wasn’t wounded. Just 
pneumonia.” 

“If you ask me,” she said, “you 
still look awful poorly. A shame 
sending the boys out of hospital 
before they’re all hale and hearty 
again. You just make yourself right 
at home, Mr. Hanley. Is there 
anything you want?” 

“No — just the telephone. Thank 
you.” 

He heard the door close, and 
almost ran to the telephone. He 
began the struggle against the cheer¬ 
ful impersonality of telephone girls. 
He waited for the call to go through, 
pushing the cap back from his 
head, feeling his forehead heavy 
with sweat. Then he began the next 


i6p 

battle — against the insensate cold¬ 
ness of petty military officialdom. 

“We cannot bring anyone to the 
telephone for personal calls,” the 
voice trilled it, happily, and as if 
by long rote. It sounded so final. 

“This call’s from London. It’s 
important.” 

“Who is calling?” 

“It’s — it’s a member ot her 
family.” 

“Will you leave the message?” 

“I can’t — it’s too complicated.” 

He heard voices, far away, dis¬ 
cussing the case, languidly. The 
voice of the operator dinned, close, 
in his ear. 

“Please don’t ring me off, opera¬ 
tor,” he said. 

“Are you thrrooooough?” drooled 
another voice. 

“Oh, my God,” he groaned. 
“Please get off the line.” 

Tinny officialdom came back in 
the person of another voice. 

‘ ‘ We-cannot-bring-an yone-to-the- 
telephone-for-personal-calls,’ ’ she 
chanted, happily. 

He felt desperate. “Then please 
write this down: Mr. Hanley is 
calling. Will you write that down 
and have it delivered to her? Ask 
her to call me at . . .” 

He looked at the telephone. 

“. . . at Oxford double-seven oh 
three. Have you got that number?” 

“Oxford double-seven oh thrrrree!” 
trilled the voice. 

“That’s right. It’s very impor¬ 
tant. I’ll be here, waiting.” He hung 
up and wiped his forehead. 



lyo THE READER S DIGEST September 


He had told himself so many 
times that there was no use hoping 
the message would get to Prue, that 
when he finally found himself pick¬ 
ing up the receiver in the bell-loud 
room, his strength left him. He was 
hearing her voice and feeling as if 
there were nothing in the world he 
could do but be sick — not a word 
to speak — only cry or be dread¬ 
fully and violently sick — hearing 
her voice. 

“Prudence,” he cried. “Oh, Pru- 

“Darling — are you ill?” 

Alarm was in her voice, and he 
gathered his nerves and will and 
controlled his tone. 

“No,” he said. “No. It’s just — 
fVe waited so long.” 

“I came down to the Ram’s 
Head to call — I couldn’t talk from 
camp with everyone listening,” 

“No, of course not. You’re a 
bright girl.” 

“Oh, darling, what are you doing 
— where are you in I^ndon?” 

“ I’m — I’m at Vollenbee’s — did 
you get my letter?” 

“No, I didn’t get any . . 

“Oh, no. Of course. I only posted 
it today. I’m going to give myself 
up. Nothing matters about that. 

I want you to come here — now. 
We’ll get married.” 

He heard her breathing.over the 
telephone. 'I'hen she said: 

“When?” 

“ Now. Come now — can you get 
away — get leave?” 

“Never mind leave,” she said. 


“I’m coming — don’t give yourself 
up, Clive — don’t get arrested — 
don’t do anything until I see you.” 

“Of course not, Prue. If I gave 
myself up, God knows when we’d 
have a chance to get married. But 
I’ll go back after and have it all 
out. I don’t know how long it takes 
to get married — I’ll have to find 
out . . .” 

He began to laugh, happily. 

“Oh, Prue,” he said. “You’re — 
you’re so beautiful — and I love 
you.” 

She did not answer. 

“You believe me, don’t you? 
You do believe me?” 

“Yes. I believe you. Because 
you never said you loved me be¬ 
fore . . .” 

“But I was an ox — I didn’t 
know. I know now — it’s so plain. 
And — but do you love me?” 

“Yes,” she said. “Yes —I’m 
very sure.” 

“ But why did you just go away 
— oh, come up here, and we’ll get 
married and then I’ll go back and 
tell them how I feel, and I don’t 
give a damn what they do.” 

He waited for her to speak, and 
when she didn’t, he said: 

“You do want to marry me, 
don’t you?” 

“You know I do, darling. But — 
there’s licenses and banns ...” 

“Oh, not in wartime. You can 
wangle these things — don’t you 
know someone who . . .” 

“Father would know someone, 

I suppose.” 



1941 


THIS ABOVE ALL 


171 


*‘Well, come on, then. What time 
can you get here ? ” 

“I can catch a bus to town — and 
there’s a train about seven. Yes, I 
can get to London at twenty min¬ 
utes to ten. Then I’ll be a deserter, 
too.” 

“I’ll be waiting at the station, 
Mary Ann.” 

He felt as if the line were from a 
happy, popular song. He felt light¬ 
headed with happiness. 

“Well, hadn’t you better go, then ? 
Don’t miss the train.” 

“The bus doesn’t go for nearly 
half an hour yet,” she said. “'I'alk 
to me. You know, when a girl’s 
said yes to a proposal — she must 
talk to somebody about it. And 
you’re the only one — unless I go 
in the bar and . . .” 

“No, I’ll talk to you.” He laughed. 
“How are you, Prue?” 

“Oh, I’m fine. How are you?” 

“I’m fine. I’m so happy.” 

“Me, too. I don’t even mind that 
I’m all messed up — because I’ve 
been crying . . 

“Ah, Prue — Prue. I love you. 
I do love you. What an ass I was 
not to recognize it before. When I 
could do something about it.” 

“No, it’s wonderful this way. Be¬ 
cause — it’s like everything else 
we’ve done. Not every girl is pro¬ 
posed to by telephone — with prob¬ 
ably hundreds of people listening 
in. You’re wonderful to have thought 
of it, darling.” 

“Yes, I’m a wonderful chap, all 
right.” 


“You are. I feel so . . 

“So what?” 

“Delirious, in a way. Like the 
first time at the panto when the 
curtain goes up.” 

“Is that what love’s like?” 

“Oh, many other things. It’s like 
seeing the first daffodils in spring 
— and oranges in your stocking at 
Christmas — and going to church 
on Easter in your new, beautiful 
dress.” 

“Love’s quite a lot of things, 
isn’t it? I feel terribly responsible.” 

“Well, what’s love to you?” 

“Oh, it’s like having worked all 
week and the whistle goes, and 
it’s payday.” 

“Anything else?” 

He sat quietly a moment. “It’s 
like — like having walked all your 
life in darkness, and dirt — and 
suddenly breaking through a cur¬ 
tain and seeing a great valley be¬ 
fore you in the sun — and you 
know it’s a new world and a new 
life from then on — forever.” 

“That’s beautiful, Clive, — about 
it being a new world. I don’t want 
to talk any more now, darling. Say 
good-bye, Clive, and — I love you.” 

“I love you, too, Prue. You’ll 
be on that train?” 

“Darling, come armies. Waffs, 
hell, or high water — I’ll come on 
that train.” 

“And come hell or high water. 
I’ll meet you.” 

The telephone clicked, and Clive 
locked at his watch. Two hours and 
forty-five minutes to wait. Two 



7/2 THE reader's digest September 


hours and forty-five minutes to 
wish away as he’d never wished for 
time to go before. 

He came down through the black¬ 
out feeling weak and lightheaded, 
but also quite elated. His mind ran 
ahead, and then with a twinge of 
discomfort he remembered that 
there’d be M.P.’s at the station. 
Well, he would fool the M.P. some¬ 
how. Perhaps it would be safer to 
arrive just on time, then he wouldn’t 
have to loiter at the station. 

He looked at his watch. Twenty 
minutes to go. Plenty of time yet. 

He made his anxious feet dawdle. 
He tried to find something for his 
mind to dwell on, to ease it of its 
impatience. When he heard the 
sirens go, he was almost pleased. 
They screeched, rising and falling 
in short banshee wailings. The lights 
were beginning to leap and swing 
to the east. There was a faint 
rumble of gunfire there. But the 
planes weren’t over central London. 

Then as he stood watching, he 
heard the sound. 

It was the whining drone of a 
German bomber, coming as if in a 
dive. Even as he heard that, his 
ear distinguished the sound of a 
dying engine, going as if fighting 
for waning life. He stood tensely, 
assaying the sound, hearing the 
engine fight — Brrrrt — brrft — brrt^ 
brt-brt-brrrrrrt! 

He felt himself in the cockpit, 
trying to gun a shattered motor, 
desperately opening the throttle, 
coaxing the engine. 


So completely was he one with 
the unknown German above that 
he felt himself go weak in the stom¬ 
ach as the motor faded into a 
crackle of guttering backfires. The 
plane was losing altitude — low, 
now — passing almost overhead. 
Low! Almost at the chimney-tops. 
And then the houses across the 
street leaped into silhouette as the 
night bloomed into an instant of 
white light, and at the same time 
the crash came. 

At that instant he started run¬ 
ning. As he turned a corner, he saw 
the street breaking into yellow 
light. The plane had struck the 
slanting roof of a three-story row 
of small shop-fronts, and had been 
driven almost completely down 
into the building. The tail of the 
plane still showed at a brave angle 
in the light of flames that were be¬ 
ginning to lick upwards. At that 
moment he heard a dull, dignified 
boom, and he knew a petrol-tank 
had exploded. 

When he reached the building, 
the fire was already crackling 
viciously. He saw that the flames 
were not pointed tongues, but great 
billows, round-topped like smoke. 
But it wasn’t smoke. It was mush¬ 
rooming clouds of bubbling fire. 

He stood, thinking it strange 
that the street should still be de¬ 
serted except for himself. Then, he 
saw a man pulling with his bare 
hands at a mass of shattered tile 
and rubble. 

Clive knelt beside him. 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


1941 

, “My wife — my kid!** said the 
.man, “they’re in the cellar!’’ 

1 The man never stopped his fran- 
tic scrabbling. Clive stood up, 
brushing at the man’s shirt. In the 
back it was glowing. The thin, 
smoldering line was creeping in an 
ever-widening circle. The man had 
not felt it. Then Clive saw that the 
man’s hair and eyebrows had been 
singed away. 

“Here — look out,’’ he said. 

He began kicking the rubble 
away, his heavy boots going in 
arcs, pushing aside the debris. He 
found an iron grating. Just then 
the beam of a torch flashed down 
and he saw a helmeted policeman. 

“Whatsis it?’’ the policeman 
said. 

Clive kept on kicking the grating 
free. 

“His wife and his kid’s down 
here.’’ 

“Whose?” 

Clive looked round. 

“ I don’t know. Chap was here a 
minute ago. Chap in his shirt¬ 
sleeves. Burned.” 

The policeman shone the torch. 
There was a small cellar window 
below the grate. 

“Grab hold, there, soldier. See 
if we can pull it up.” 

They bent and tugged together. 
Suddenly, without warning the 
grating tore loose, and they stag¬ 
gered back, trying to keep balance. 

“There,” the policeman said. 
Tether they peer^ at the smashed 
window below, gazing as men do 


^73 

when judging a problem that needs 
nice assessment. The heat of the 
fire was growing more intense. 

“ By God, I couldn’t get through 
there,” the policeman said. He 
looked at Clive. “And you’re 
bloody near as big as me.” 

“What’s up?” a new voice said 
behind them. 

“There’s a woman and a kid 
down there — and it’s too small.” 

“Who says so?” 

“A chap — he was round here. 
In his shirt-sleeves.” 

“Oh, must be the man they just 
picked up at the corner. He was 
wandering round.” 

' The new man threw his torch on 
the window. Then he looked at 
more men behind him. 

“’Ere — let’s ’ave a look at it!” 

A wizened cockney whose hel¬ 
met came down over his head with 
a sort of variety-hall comedy effect 
knelt before the gap. 

“I c’n make that,” he said, al¬ 
most proudly. “’Ere!—’old me 
’elmet.” 

“Good old Snod,” someone said. 
Clive watched the little man’s face 
contort into a grimace as he s(]ueezed 
himself through the window. Then 
there was nothing to do but wait. 

At last he heard the men calling 
down into the airway. They were 
pulling at something — a very 
small child. The cockney was 
shouting up. 

“I cawn’t find nobody else.’* 

Clive knelt quickly by the air¬ 
way. 



174 the READER^S digest September 


“There must be another there,** 
he shouted. “The chap said his wife 
was down there too.’* 

The face of the cockney stared 
up. “All right. I’ll look agyne,’’ he 
said. 

Clive lay beside the window, 
waiting. The time seemed to crawl. 
Another helmeted figure knelt be¬ 
side him. 

“We ought to be getting him out 
of there,” the man said. “Snod! 
Hi — Snodgrass!” 

Just then Clive heard the cheer¬ 
ful voice: 

“I got ’er. Way at the back. 
’Ere — grab ’old.” 

Quickly the man above reached 
down in the airway. As his head 
and shoulders went from view, 
Clive knelt and knotted his hands 
in the man’s coat-tails. He heard 
the cockney below. 

“*Op to it. Chief. It ain’t nice 
down ’ere.” 

The man struggled, wriggling 
backward, pulling the woman by 
her arms. Her head rolled loosely 
on her neck. Her shoulders wedged 
in the window frame. 

“Grab her hand and pull,” the 
man said. 

There was urgency in his voice. 

Just as Clive grasped the thick 
plumpness of the wrist, and began 
to pull, he heard it. The hard, high 
cries that cut clearly into con¬ 
sciousness. 

“lx)ok out!” 

“Look out! The wall!” 

Frantically he tugged with the 


man beside him. The body was 
jammed. Clive looked up .above. 

The wall was still there. It hadn’t 
moved. Perhaps they had made a 
mistake. With his head thrown 
back, his feet braced against the 
building, he tugged so that he felt 
sickened that the woman’s bones 
and flesh should be put to such 
straining. The wall was still there. 
It was still . . . 

Then he saw that it wasn’t the 
same. The wall was edging out¬ 
ward. It was beginning to slant. 
It was all happening with the hor¬ 
rible time-distortion of a night¬ 
mare. 

Like a man pulling on a rope at 
tug-o’-war, he strained at the arms 
of the woman. “It’s worse for 
Snod,” he thought. “I made him 
go back.” 

He looked up again. The wall 
was bowing, gravely and cour¬ 
teously, falling . . . falling . . . 

There was a rending of cloth as 
the shattered edge of the window 
tore at the clothes of the woman, 
and then her body came free. 

Only then, as if the reaching of 
this goal of freeing the woman had 
also freed his mind from immediate 
happenings, did Clive remember. 
He let the woman’s arm fall. 

Prudence! He had said that, hell 
or high water, he’d be there. 

You said you’d be there, his 
mind accused. 

Well, hell . . . 

A new thought came and he held 
it with almost triumphant pleasure. 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


There would still be time. They'd 
hold up the trains in an air raid. 
He had plenty of time, if . , . 

If he ran! If he got away. 

“Oh God,” he thought. “I can't 
get out. I can't. I'm too tired.” 

There they were, the four of 
them — the man beside him, the 
woman, perhaps dead, the little 
cockney looking up from the cel¬ 
lar, and himself. All caught to¬ 
gether, hearing now the roar of the 
collapsing wall, waiting for the tor¬ 
rent of stone and brick that would 
come in that second to cover them. 

There was a first crash, a sense 
of sudden pain, and then, miracu¬ 
lously, Clive felt himself standing. 
He looked about him. 

There had been no passage of 
time, and yet he knew time had 
elapsed, for he was being half- 
carried, half-led by two men. 

Forcibly he stopped, and pushed 
them away with his hands. Then 
he understood. He had come out 
alive. They had dug him out — no 
worse than getting knocked out at 
football. He had been knocked un¬ 
conscious, but he was all right now. 
There was no pain. 

He gathered his words as he drew 
his arms free. 

“No,” he said. “I’m all right 
now. IVe got to go.” 

It was harder to talk than he’d 
imagined. 

“Go? Where?” 

“To the railway station,” he ^aid, 
slowly. “I’ve got to meet someone 
— at — the railway station.” 


He started away and then felt 
himself on a tilting world. He had 
to walk in a slight half-circle to 
keep from falling. But the world 
tilted still further so that he fell. 

He lay there, not feeling the men 
pick him up. 

P RUDENCE sat, her face turned 
toward the great clock. A leth- 
argy possessed her, a sense of un¬ 
reality. This sitting here alone, 
waiting — this could not be true. 

“What train are you waiting for, 
Miss?” A Military Policeman was 
standing before her. He had seen 
her fitting there for hours. 

She looked at her wristwatch 
with a simulated motion. It was 
idiotic to sit there, to pretend any 
more that time had not gone past. 
She got up, slowly. 

“I seem,” she said, “to have 
missed — someone. Yes, I’vemissed 
them.” 

She picked up her bag and walked 
away. 

Roger Cathaway went quickly 
to the waiting-room door and threw 
it open. 

“Well, Prue!” he said. “When 
the nurse said you were here . . .” 

Even as he went to her, he felt 
the shock that always came on 
him now as he saw his daughter. 
Somehow, in his mind, she always 
lived as a girl of nine — with honey- 
toffee plaits down her back — rid¬ 
ing with him in his car on his calls. 
“ Come on in the sanctum,” he said. 



176 THE reader's digest September 


“What on earth brings you . . 

As he closed the door he looked 
at her. 

“Why, you look tired.” 

A fugitive smile passed and she 
said: “I didn’t sleep last night. IVe 
•been sitting in Lyons.” 

“Then we’d better pack you off 
home and let you get some sleep. 
How much leave have you got.?” 

“I haven’t got leave,” she said. 

He went to her quickly 
and took her hand. 

“What’s the matter?” 

She looked at his hand 
and smiled. 

“Bedside manner,” 
she said. 

He nodded, and went 
back to his chair. He took 
out a cigar and lit it. 

“ Prue, you know, peo¬ 
ple come from all over to sit in that 
chair — hundreds of ’em — and 
pay a lot of money, too, by Godfrey. 
And sometimes it’s surgery; but 
most of the time — there’s nothing 
wrong, and you just have to talk. 
And what would be the use of me if 
I couldn’t help my own daugh¬ 
ter . . .” 

He swung in his chair and patted 
his left shoulder. 

“That,” he said, “is my public 
cryingshoulder. A fewodd thousand 
people have cried on that one. But 
this . . .” 

She saw the lean fingers of his 
left hand touching his right shoul¬ 
der. 

“. . . this one’s a private one — 


reserved for members of my own 
family.” 

Like a child, she sat on his lap, 
and put her head on his shoulder. 

“You know,” he said, and his 
voice sounded far away, “ it’s funny. 
I always think of you as a kid in 
pigtails.” 

“Well, I’m not,” she said. “I’m 
quite a bit heavier. Suppose anyone 
walked in and saw you with a 
woman on your lap.” 

“Scandal,” he whis¬ 
pered. “But no one will 
come in.” 

She lay quietly, her 
face feeling the roughness 
of his coat. 

“Father.” 

“Yes?” 

“Has anyone the right 
to unload troubles on 
anyone else? Passing troubles and 
responsibilities on . . 

“You have a right to pass them 
on to your parents,” he said. 

“I’ve had my leave,” she said, 
suddenly. Her voice was flat. “I 
went away with a soldier. We 
stayed on the South Coast. Then 
— yesterday he called up and asked 
me to come to London — and we’d 
get married. But — he wasn’t at 
the station. So — I walked around 
all night. And came here. That's 
all.” 

He did not say anything. 

“Are you shocked?” she asked. 

He sighcid. “I was talking about 
being a good father,” he said. “ You 
know what I think it is — being a 





THIS ABOVE ALL 


J941 

good father? It*s loving your chil¬ 
dren — loving them when theyVe 
good — and loving them just as 
much when they’re bad. No matter 
what you did — that wouldn’t make 
any difference to my essential love 
for you. You know, I really mean 
that.” 

“I know you do,” she said. “It’s 
funny talking like this.” 

“ Yes,” he said. “Who is the chap ? 
I’d like to wring his neck.” 

“No,” she said. “You wouldn’t 
know him. He’s—just a private 
soldier. That doesn’t sound nice, 
does it? A girl in the Waffs runs off 
with a private soldier and then he 
leaves her waiting at the church. 
Does it sound hackneyed and sordid 

— the servant girl’s tragedy?” 

“You needn’t talk about it if you 

don’t want to. It’s all right. You’re 

— still you.” 

“No,” she said. “I don’t mind 
talking. I want to now. I’m not 
ashamed. The moment I met him 
I knew I’d do whatever he asked 
me to. Why is it like that? We 
weren’t in love — then. What makes 
it like that?” 

He rocked slightly, as if she were 
a tiny child. 

“The wisest of us don’t know 
that,” he said. “It’s so many things. 
It’s how old you are.—whether 
your body is rebelling against physi¬ 
cal restraints imposed by custom — 
most people are physically ready 
to be married long, long before the 
age they’re able to sustain and 
support a home. Or it’s how the 


ITT 

moon is — what your emotional 
state is — what tune an orchestra 
has played and left ringing in your 
head — what smells or scents there 
are in the air — everything you’ve 
ever done or sensed or thought in 
your entire life somehow has created 
a contributory stream that pours 
into that one moment. You see?” 

“I don’t know,” she said. “I 
haven’t been a bad girl — or casual 

— even in kissing. And yet — I 
knew he would ask me, and I wanted 
him to. So it wasn’t his fault, was 
it?” 

“ It’s something removed beyond 
l^ame. And it’s best to forget it all. 
A private soldier — and a physical 
encounter. The only thing to blame 
was his not keeping his promise — 
and your wanting to sustain a purely 
physical relationship by . . .” 

“No,” she said. “He wasn’t like 
that. He was a private soldier but 

— but . . . Look, suppose you were 
to have photographs — microscopic 
photographs a quarter of a million 
times as large as things are. Could 
you have that?” 

“No. What for?” 

“That’s what he was working on. 
Photographing with electrons in¬ 
stead of light. That’s possible, isn’t 
it?” 

“Theoretically it may be. But 
in practice . . .” 

“But he says they’re doing it. 
Not him — but an old man — oh, 
I forget his name. Follenbee or 
something. 1 forget.” 

“Vollenbec?” 



1^8 THE reader’s digest September 


“Yes, that's it. Do you know 
him?" 

“ I know of him. He’s a crazy old 
coot — and so brilliant that he might 
do it." 

“Well then, it’s true. You see? 
What he said — it’s true. Couldn’t 
we get in touch with Vollenbee and 
— and find out where he is?" 

“I don’t know," he said. “Do 
you want to, Prue? This chap, 
whoever he is — well, it seems pretty 
plain it’s just been a casual en¬ 
counter . . 

“No," she said. “It can’t be 
that. He wouldn’t have asked me 
to come here unless he . . . you 
see ... I know he wouldn’t." 

“You think he wouldn’t.” 

“No. I know he wouldn’t. You 
see, it wasn’t just —just the other 
thing. It was when we started, but 
not afterwards. He’d been in the 
mess at Dunkirk. It had — upset 
him. We stayed awake and talked 
at night. Of course, we made love, 
too.” 

He laughed, warmly. 

“Yes, of course," he said. “That 
sounds fairly true." 

“And he didn’t want to go back. 
So, we argued about it. And we had 
a quarrel about it. But we made it 
up — and we left it at that. And 
then, yesterday, he called me. He 
said he’d solv^ it and was going 
to go back and have it out — but 
first, we’d get married. And I came 
— but he wasn’t there." 

She felt herself crying — from 
yreariness, she thought. 


“ I don’t want to cry •-or — or 
be a fool. But . . .’’ 

“That’s all right," he said. He 
patted her comfortingly. “You have 
to tell someone. And now — what 
do you want to do?" 

“I don’t want to do anything," 
she said. “I can’t seem to want to 
do anything. And I’m absent from 
camp and . . .’’ 

“There, there," he said. “Don’t 
worry. I’ll attend to it — you’re ill 
and can’t go bade — until you want 
to. I think you’d better take a cab 
home, and get some rest. . . .’’ 

“Must I tell Mother?" she asked. 

“No," he smiled. “I don’t think 
you should just yet." 

C LIVE HEARD a rustling sound, 
but when he opened his eyes, 
the sound was gone and Prudence 
was there. 

He gathered speech from the 
weakness inside him, and said: 
“Hello." 

“Hello," she said. “You mustn’t 
talk." 

He smiled at the silliness of this 
and shut his eyes. 

When he opened his eyes again, 
Prudence was gone. A lamp was 
burning dimly and the nurse was 
going away. The rustling sound was 
there. 

Almost gleefully he arrived at 
the fact that the rustling was the 
sound of the starched skirts of the 
nurses <— and he knew he had heard 
it a long time and that it was now 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


1941 

familiar. He felt sorry for their 
legs, brushing against the harsh¬ 
ness of uniiowing material. 

He nodded, and closed his eyes. 

He woke and saw Prudence was 
there again, and he thought the 
interlude had been a trick of the 
mind. 

“Hello,” he said. “Still here?” 

“No, don’t talk.” 

“But we’ve just been through 
all that,” he said. 

He watched her face and smiled. 

“Here, here,” he said. “There’s 
nothing to cry about, now.” 

“I won’t,” she said. “I’m not 
crying. Are you all right?” 

“Yes. How did we get here?” 

“You were in an accident. They 
brought you here.” 

He lay thinking. 

“I didn’t mean that,” he said. 
“ What I meant was — how did you 
get here? I didn’t meet you and . . 

“Your pay book —and your 
pass. The hospital notified military 
police. My father traced you and 
it’s all straightened out now. Don’t 
worry — and go to sleep.” 

“I’ve been asleep.” 

“ But you’ve got to get strong.” 

“I am strong,” he said. “What’s 
wrong with me?” 

“A little concussion, that’s all.” 

He lost focus of her and saw only 
the blankness of walls. He tried to 
rivet attention on something he 
wanted to say, but then he saw it 
was dark a^in, and the light was 
burning, and she wasn’t there. 


He opened his eyes, feeling some¬ 
one holding his wrist. A broad 
bearded man was there, taking his 
pulse. 

“Hello,” he said. 

The man did not answer. He 
just looked at him, and winked. 

“I know you,” Clive said. It 
seemed extremely funny. “You’re 
Prue’s father.” 

The man nodded, still not speak¬ 
ing. 

“You know how I could tell? 
The nose. It has a flat snub part 
below the bridge just like hers.” 

The man began to laugh, silently 
and curiously as if it were a tre¬ 
mendous joke. Then he put Clive’s 
hand down carefully. 

Clive felt tremendously happy 
over his success. He wanted to go 
on talking but the putting down of 
his hand was like a final curtain 
that put an end to it all. 

The car was halfway home be¬ 
fore Prue dared to ask the ques¬ 
tion. “Please — what about him. 
Father?” she said. 

“Well,” he said, slowly, “we’ll 
operate tomorrow at eleven. Then 
we’ll soon have him all fixed up.” 

She kept her eyes ahead. 

“What’s wrong with him?” she 
asked. “It isn’t a simple concus¬ 
sion, is it? You have names for 
things . . .” 

“Oh, no,” he laughed. “If I told 
you, then you’d go home and look 
it up and get worried. There’s dan¬ 
ger in half-knowledge. You know. 



l8o THE reader’s DIGEST September 


years ago when we knew less about 
cancer, I read about it and I was 
sure I had it. Cancer of the throat. 
Nothing could convince me I 
hadn’t. I still have it, regularly — 
twice a year. I go and get exam¬ 
ined, and nothing will convince 
me . . 

She knew he had taken the con¬ 
versation away to make it easier 
for her. 

“Please,” she said. “It’s worse 
not knowing.” 

“Well, there’s a subdural hem¬ 
orrhage at the left-rear of the 
skull.” 

“What’s that? What’s subdural?” 

“Oh, you know — the dura’s one 
of the three coatings over the brain 
— and there’s a hemorrhage under 
it — giving some intracranial pres¬ 
sure.” 

“And you jcuj through and re¬ 
lieve the pressure.” 

“Yes, I’ll take the clot away. 
Everything that can be done, will 
be done — try not to worry about 
it,” For some minutes he was curi¬ 
ously silent. 

“You told me not to worry,” she 
said, “but aren’t you worried your¬ 
self? You seem to be.” 

“Well, I always worry a little, 
you know. If I didn’t worry — per¬ 
haps I wouldn’t be a good doctor. 
This chap — he’s never been sick, 
has he?” he asked. 

“No. I remember he said he’d 
never been sick a day in his life. 
But he had pneumonia after Dun- 
kirlc.” 


“Pneumonia? Of course. A lot of 
them did. Exhaustion and expo¬ 
sure, no doubt. He was a nice 
chap?” 

She smiled and nodded. 

“Yes,” he said. “Of course. But 
I don’t know much about him. 
Merry fellow, was he?” 

“Oh, yes. We used to laugh and 
have a good time.” 

“Not all the time, though. You 
were serious sometimes?” 

“Oh, yes, oft^n.” 

“Quarrel sometimes?” 

“Oh, well. One does — it’s hu¬ 
man.” 

“Yes, of course. But — vio¬ 
lently?” 

“Sometimes. You see, he was 
tense and edgy because he had 
been through so much. He gave 
up his place in the boat at Dunkirk 
to let another man escape. They 
suffered so terribly there, and he 
didn’t seem able to forget it.” 

“Oh, did he tell you that?” 

“Not at first. He didn’t even say 
he’d been there, but I knew. At 
night — he’d grind his teeth ter¬ 
ribly and shout out things about 
the war.” 

“But he was always perfectly 
rational?” 

“Of course. That is — well, it’s 
nothing, but sometimes, when he 
was talking, he’d stop—just as if 
everything were blank. And then 
he’d go on — right where he left 
off.” 

“Start talking, stop, and then 
goon?” 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


1941 


j8i 


“Yes. Is that bad? Does it mean 
anything?" 

He sought words quickly. 

“Oh, no, no. Most of us do that, 
you know. If we’re thinking — 
only a fool goes right on babbling." 

“Yes. He’s got a good mind, 
Father." 

“Did he ever have headaches?” 

“Why, yes, he had. Is that a 
symptom of something?" 

“No," he said. “Not neces¬ 
sarily. . . . Ah, there it goes!" 

They heard the banshee wail of 
the alarm. She looked at her 
luminous watch. 

“Nine-eighteen — and third to-'^ 
night,” she said. “And that’s more 
terrifying than the raid itself." 

He knew she hated the scream of 
the alarm. 

“No,” he said. “You wouldn’t 
say that if . . .” 

“Are there many injured?" 

“Yes. It’s getting heavier every 
night. We’re beginning to get quite 
a good many." 

“I hope you aren’t called to¬ 
night," she said. “You’ve got to 
have a good rest for tomorrow.” 

“Yes," he said slowly. 

R oger Cathaway soaped his hands 
^ mechanically. He was thinking 
of Prudence, standing in the cor¬ 
ridor below, waiting for the opera¬ 
tion to be over. 

“We’re ready, doctor." 

He went into the operating room. 
There was the Hood of light. Be¬ 
yond that, nothing exist^^the 


glass partitions, the outer theater 
—just black space. There was some 
dim movement. The medical stu¬ 
dents — assembled for a Cathaway 
operation. He felt suddenly tired. 

He walked toward the whiteness 
of the tent and stood, looking at the 
bluish-gray on the shaven scalp 
showing through the apex of the 
tent. This skull — this man — and 
Prudence. This man — 

“We’re ready, doctor," the as¬ 
sistant said. 

“Yes," he said. “Yes." 

He held out his hand for the 
hypodermic syringe. Quickly he 
infiltrated the scalp with the novo- 
caine. Then he straightened and 
spoke clearly. 

“From the history of this case 
and from our physical findings we 
believe this to be a subdural hem¬ 
orrhage affecting the^ left parietal 
region." * 

He held out his hand for the 
scalpel, and drew it over the blue- 
gray in the first, swift, biting line 

“However," he said, “there are 
inescapable indications that the 
case may be further complicated." 

He was thinking: It is always like 
a thin-lipped mouth, breaking into 
a gentle smile: the way the scalp 
creeps back showing the skull. 

He watched his hands, working 
strongly and firmly. 

This man, the beloved of his child. 
His daughter. The little girl in 
pigtails . . . 

“The patioit is a soldier, who expe¬ 
rienced the recent action. Undoubtedly 



j82 the reader’s digest September 


he was affected by the strain of 
the war . . 

The beloved — not a girl in pig¬ 
tails. The blonde-aureoled young 
woman he had left waiting in the 
corridor. Prudence. Prudence . . . 
Lord alive, the word has no mean¬ 
ing or sense. What in heaven’s name 
had made them christen her with 
such a meaningless sound? Impru¬ 
dence might have come closer . . . 

“You may notice, incidentally,” 
he said, “the great care taken to 
avoid haemostasis. We are checking 
the hemorrhages with the clips . . .” 

He heard his voice droning on, 
and saw his hands moving, and 
thought: Get back to the point. 
You’ll have to sooner or later. He 
set the Hudson burr against the 
white bone, feeling the warmth in 
his throat that was always there 
when metal first ate at bone. 

“There were signs of spasticity 
on the part of the patient. This 
should remembered in conjunc¬ 
tion with the fact that the patient 
has also suffered pneumonia re¬ 
cently, and that X ray reveals a 
fibroid tuberculosis of the right 
lung.” 

There, it was said. He went on 
working, now silent, lost in the 
concentration of the operation it¬ 
self. As he set the instrument for 
the fourth time, he spoke again. 

“The Hudson burr,” he said. 
“Extremely efficient — making it 
impossible to penetrate any deeper 
than the thickness of the skull 
itself.” 


His mind returned to4*rudence, 
but he forced it away again, and 
found almost release in speaking 
aloud. 

“This is, of course, the Gigli 
saw.” 

He bent, now again rapt in his 
work, passing the wirelike saw 
through the aperture and under the 
skull. He caught the end, and be¬ 
gan the back-and-forth sawing, pull¬ 
ing the flexible toothed band 
steadily. 

‘WVe may expect the pressure of 
the hemorrhage to push the brain 
into the aperture. There is usually 
great intracranial pressure. Yes — 
frequently quite great.” 

The rectangle of skull came away 
and hung attached to its hinge of 
scalp. As if obedient to his words 
the gray pulp rose tightly. 

Something in him said: You knew 
it would be so. You knew it. You 
thought luck . . . luck . , . there 
is no luck! Prudence . . . you can’t 
even do this much for Prudence. 

He spoke, slowly, steadily. 

“Unfortunately,” he said, “you 
at that distance are unable to 
observe what we have here. But 
those of us here can see a certain 
thickness of the meninges . . .” 

He watched his hands at work, 
feeling that he was plodding along 
an endless road. 

He saw her sitting by the win¬ 
dow in the hall. He was searching 
for words to say, and then felt 
somehow cheated when she spoke 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


1941 

'first. She smiled and said clearly: 

“They took him into his room. 
He looked — rather done in.” 

“Of course,” he said, irritably, 
thinking that she knew better than 
to expect a patient to be lively 
directly after such an operation. 
“Of course. In the morning . . 

“Yes. In the morning,” she said. 
“Shall we — go?” 

He thought: If she’d only given 
me a chance, I'd have 
told her. I’ve got to sooner 
or later. But . . . 

They went silently from 
the hospital. As he climbed 
into the car, he passed his 
hand over his forehead. 

“You’re tired, aren’t 
you?” she said. “I know 

— nearly four hours it 
took. It’s a very long 
operation, isn’t it?” 

Now! This is the time to tell 
her ... if she were only looking 
away from him. 

“You know,” he said, and his 
own dawning thought gave him 
surprise. “If I weren’t — a re¬ 
spected doctor — I’d go out and 
get blotto! Absolutely blotto!” 

“All right,” she said. “I^t’s. Me 
too.” 

“Ah, but Prue . . 

“No,” she said. “I couldn’t pos¬ 
sibly go home. I couldn’t — I’d yell 

— I couldn’t . . .” 

“But Prue — I wouldn’t know 

“That'S all right. I’ll take you,” 
she said. “I’U take vou.” 


He felt the curious end-of-the- 
world feeling — as when he had 
been a young man and had gone 
off on irresponsible rickety-rackety 
crew jaunts around London. He 
was surprised that that world still 
existed — it hadn’t ended when he 
had left it — the world of dancers 
and well-gowned women and laugh¬ 
ter into wine cups. How staid 
he had grown! 

“Sorry,” he said. “I 
don’t do so well.” 

“You’re dancing won¬ 
derfully,” she said. “You’d 
learn in no time. You’re 
so light on your feet.” 

“I used,” he almost 
boasted, “to dance the 
maxixe.” 

Then the dance was 
over and they sat at the 
table. “You’d make a wonderful 
dancer,” she said. 

“Huh!” 

“You would. I bet people are 
saying *Look at that distinguished- 
looking man—how wdl he dances.* ” 

“No, they’re saying ‘Look at 
that old codger with the beautiful 
young girl. Must be his money that 
does it.’” 

Suddenly he was tired. 

“Shall wc go?” 

“All right. It’s almost closing 
here.” 

When they were outside in the 
cool darkness, she said: 

“ I don’t want to go home let’s 
keep on going.” 

“Where? I thought you said 





184 THE READER S DIGEST September. 


everything closes at this time.” 

“I’ll bet it doesn’t,” she said. 
“Wait here.” 

When she came back she took 
his arm. “I knew I could find some¬ 
thing— the doorman told me. You’ll 
have to say you’re a member of 
the club.” 

It was only a short distance, and 
then he was knocking at the door, 
seeing a pair of eyes inspect him 
through the sliding panel. The door 
opened. 

Inside he sat at the table, looking 
at the small place, packed with 
men in uniform, and amply sup¬ 
plied with enough hostesses to go 
all round. 

“My word,” he said. “Illegal 
places like this — right in the heart 
of London!” 

The whisky was horrible. He 
shuddered and watched Prudence 
drink, quickly. 

“Don’t make yourself ill,” he 
said. 

He felt ashamed of himself and 
of the place. It was all right for the 
others — all the young men with 
wings on the chests of their uni¬ 
forms. Youth couldn’t be sullied by 
it — but he — age turned it tawdry. 

He watched the girls — pitiful 
in the bright frowziness of soiled 
evening dresses. There wasn’t one 
who — who could make a man’s 
pulse-beat rise a fraction — unless 
he were tight. Prue — she was the 
only clean-looking thing here. 

^‘Poor drabs,” he said. 

“Don’t nick on them.” she said. 


“They’re doing their best. Can 
we have another.^” ' 

He was surprised at her tone. But 
then he nodded. He couldn’t scold. 
If a man took his daughter out — 
he couldn’t change in the middle, 
of it all and suddenly become the 
restraining parent. He watched her 
drink, and then they sat moodily at 
the table. 

“ It’s no use,” she said, suddenly. 
He looked up to smile at her, and 
saw her face. 

“Now, Prue ~ don’t cry, please.” 

“It’s all right,” she said. “They’re 
used to crying women in places like 
this. No one will pay any at¬ 
tention.” 

She took the handkerchief he 
offered and wiped her face, quickly. 

“How long will helive ? ” she said. 

“Why,” he began. “The — he’s 

in . . .” 

“It’s all right,” she said. “I 
know. I went in and watched, and 
I heard you.” 

He bowed his head. 

“Yes — I felt sure you were 
there.” 

“One of the nurses let me in — 
she didn’t know who it was — it 
wasn’t her fault.” 

She looked at him and smiled. 

“ Poor you. Knowing your daugh¬ 
ter was out there — and yet know¬ 
ing that that mustn’t make any 
difference.” 

He was silent. 

“What’s spasticity?” she asked, 

“His muscular responses dn the 
riffht side ...” 


- > . 



e 


mr 

** Can*t you do anydiing for him ? ” 

“All we can do is — give him 
twenty grains of sulfanilamide four 
times a day,” he said. He recited it 
as if mocking the words. 

“Then what will happen?” 

“Tomorrow morning — it*s this 
morning now — he'll appear much 
better. That’s the relief of the hem¬ 
orrhage pressure. He may be quite 
rational — and quite relieved.” 

“And then?” 

“Toward evening we should ex¬ 
pect certain — signals to display 
themselves. Rising temperature. 
Moments of irrationality.” 

“And then?” 

He went on, as if reciting a lec¬ 
ture. “In the following twenty-four 
hours, we should expect to see the 
fever mounting. Twelve hours later 
pyrexia will be well advanced. The 
patient will become stuporous. 

“In from forty-eight to seventy- 
two hours, the — death will take 
place. Death will take place.” He 
stared down at the table, waiting. 

“Thank you,” she said. “ Can we 
— this is such a very loathsome 
place — can we go home?” 

“ I think we'd better,” he said. 

C OMING through the morning 
quietness she had thought: 
Suppose he has died. Suppose he 
has died in the night! Hurry! Sup¬ 
pose he has died! 

But when she opened the door 
and saw his eyes turn toward her, 
stich a gladness swept her that 
forgot everything else. 


1S5 

He said: “I've been waiting a 
long time for you.” 

“Oh, you look so fine,” she said. 
“You look so much better.” 

“I am better,” he said. “I feel 
so clearheaded. Just a bit squiffy 
in the stomach, that's all.” 

As she heard the aliveness of his 
voice a cry rose within her: It isn’t 
true. Perhaps luck is with us. Per¬ 
haps somehow — miraculously — 
he’s going to get better. Perhaps 
they were wrong! There were mis¬ 
takes sometimes . . . 

While the wild hope was being 
born in her it died, and she heard 
the voice of her father in remem¬ 
brance going tonelessly: “Tomor¬ 
row morning — he'll appear much 
better. That’s the relief of the 
hemorrhage . . .” 

The hope was gone and a cold 
sickness passed down into her as 
if she had swallowed it. 

“I feel better than I have for 
months — really,” he was saying. 
“Really, Prue. He certainly is a 
good doctor. I could hear him lec¬ 
turing — quite plainly at first. Af¬ 
terwards— I got a bit sleepy, I 
think.” 

“He's the best there is — I told 
you that.” ‘ 

“But I feel so good!” 

“Then don't talk.” 

He turned his head and they 
looked at each other for a long space. 

“I'm all bandages,” he said. “I 
must look a mess.” 

“Vanity. Lie quietly.” 

. “I don't want to be quiet . . **■ 


THIS ABOVE ALL 



t86 THE READER S DIGEST September 


“For me.” 

“All right,” he said. 

She heard him become quiet and 
unmoving. Then he spoke again. 

“ Prue, after this is all over we*re 
going to live very placid, normal 
Jives. Sound citizens. Legally mar¬ 
ried. Hearth and home, and six 
bouncing children that look like 
you . . .” 

“Six, good heavens!” 

“Of course, six. I think that’s a 
very nice round number.” 

He laughed to himself, warmly. 

“Six babies, and furniture on the 
hire-purchase, and the gas bill to 
pay, and the insurance man coming 
round once a week.” 

His voice dropped. 

“I haven’t got anything,” he 
said. “Could you put up with it?” 

She turned her head away. 

“You know that,” she said. 

“It won’t be so bad. When this 
war’s over. I’ll get my job back — 
and we’ll have fun. You’ll like ’em. 
We’ll have old Monty drop around. 
And you’ll like Vollenbee. . . .” 

He held out his hand and she 
took it, and felt sudden horror that 
it was so warm. Then she thought: 
People’s hands are always warm 
when they lie in bed. . . . 

When he was asleep she put his 
hand under the covers and sat 
watching the sunlight move and 
the dust motes whirl. 

Tbe nurse set the tray on the 
stai^. 

“1 broueht some tea and toast 


for you, too,” she said to Pgadence. 

She went to the bed and stood, 
looking down. Then she touched 
his shoulder. Prue heard his voice. 

“I’m — I’m thirsty.” 

The nurse’s voice came brisk in a 
nearly calloused cheerfulness. 

“Of course you are. I brought 
you some nice tea. Miss Cathaway 
will give it to you.” 

She smiled at Prudence and went 
away. Prudence took the small, 
spouted cup, and- poured the tea 
into his mouth. She waited for him 
to swallow, and he smiled up at 
her. Then he hiccoughed. 

“So sorry,” he said. “Isn’t that 
rude!” 

“You can’t help it. Here, some 
more.” 

She gave him tea until he shook 
his head. 

“You take yours,” he said; and 
his eyes closed as he watched her. 

Late in the afternoon the nurse 
came in with the chart clipped to 
the board. She went to the head of 
the bed and looked at him. 

He said: “Hello!” 

“Hello,” she said. “I think Miss 
Cathaway ought to go now.” 

“ No,” he said. “ Please — let her 

stay.” 

“Don’t be so selfish,” she said, 
as to a child. “You don’t want her 
to get tired and get ill too, do you? 
She's got to get some dinner.” 

“That’s right,” he said. “I’m 
sorry. Will you come back later, 
Prue?” 



THIS ABOVE ALL 


1941 


137 


“Yes. ril come back,” she said. 

As she went out he called after 
her. 

“Knock when you come, Prue. 
I might be flirting with the nurse.” 

She smiled as she closed the door. 

“My, you are feeling better to¬ 
day,” the nurse said. “Open your 
mouth.” 

He moved his head to escape the 
thermometer. 

“We’re going to get married, 
nurse. You can be first to con¬ 
gratulate us. We’^ve been planning 
it this afternoon — six babies and 
a home in suburbia. As soon as I 
get out of here, we’ll be married.” 

The nurse flicked the thermome¬ 
ter dry with a snapping movement 
of the wrist. 

“That’s — that’s very nice,” she 
snapped. “You mustn’t talk. Open 
your mouth.” She took his wrist; 
then looked at the thermometer. 

“Am I going to get better?” 

“Of course you are,” she snapped. 
“Of course — if you stop talking 
and rest.” 

He lay still. 

“Thank you,” he said, at last. 

T he next morning when Pru¬ 
dence came the nurse was sit¬ 
ting by the bed. 

“PlI stay here now,” she said. 
The nurse went away. Prudence 
listened to his breathing, now tense. 
He seemed as in a troubled sleep. 
He woke up twice and she gave 
him a drink. When the nurse came 
in to take the temperature, Pru¬ 


dence watched him turn his head 
from side to side to avoid the ther¬ 
mometer, in a petulant, tired sort 
of way. 

After the nurse had gone she sat 
by the window again, letting time 
dribble past. At last he spoke, clearly 
and strongly. She went to him. 

“What is it?” she asked. 

“ I said, do you know Old Monty ? ” 

“Yes,” she said. “I know him.” 

“A good chap,” he said. “A very 
good chap.” 

He shook his head as if in some 
secret satisfaction, and closed his 
eyes again. 

She sat, feeling the aloneness of a 
room where an ill person lies. Her 
father came in and smiled at her. 
Then he held the hand on the bed, 
feeling the pulse. He folded it back 
neatly under the bedclothes. 

“How is he?” she asked. He 
hesitated, and she went on: “No, 
that’s a silly question to ask. It 
doesn’t give you anything to say, 
does it?” 

“You’d better let me take you 
out for some lunch.” 

She nodded. 

“ You look tired,” she said. “ Were 
you busy last nfght?” 

“Quite busy,” he said. “Rather 
a heavy casualty list last night — 
the heaviest yet.” 

They went down the hall, 

“People’ll have to learn to wear 
helmets. 1 had one with a falling 
splinter right in here.” 

He pointed with his finger stick¬ 
ing straight down toward the top 



THE READER S DIGEST 


iSeplember 


laa 


of his head. “We took it out — 
very peculiar case.” 

“I suppose you’ll get some very 
interesting cases now.” 

He nodded. “ It seems quite prob¬ 
able.” 

After lunch she went back. As 
she came in he was stirring, turning 
his head from side to side and 
breathing heavily. She took the 
water cup and dribbled drops onto 
his lips. She noticed that they were 
cracked and dry from the fever. 

When she heard him speak again 
the sound was harsh and unintel¬ 
ligible. She went to him, and his 
eyes were alive. He moved his lips. 

“Water?” she said. 

He shook his head from side to 
side. Then his voice came rasping. 

“ No. Your hat,” he said. 

She put her hand to the beret. 

“Oh, this? You mean I’m not in 
uniform.” 

He shook his head, almost in 
disgust. 

“Your hat. Take it olf,” he said. 

“Why, of course.” 

She took it off and smoothed her 
hair in an unconscious gesture. 

“There, is that better?” 

He smiled and nodded his head. 

The next morning Clive was 
still alive. The day nurse came in 
and said; “Shouldn’t you rest? It’s 
no use . . . Well — here’s the pa- 
pcr.” 

She left the newspaper, but Pru¬ 
dent could not read it. It seemed 
nkeanmgless. 


Again the cycle of sounds moved 
through the hospital: the stiff skirts 
everlastingly whispering near the 
door as the nurses hurried past, a 
woman’s cry lifted in labor, the 
punctual squalling of babies in the 
wing below as feeding time drew 
near, a piece of china crashing 
somewhere in a kitchen. 

But, always, closest of all, was 
the sound of his breathing. She sat 
with her hands folded, listening to it. 

In the late aftefnoon, her father 
came in and held the pulse of a 
hand that had no meaning or con¬ 
nection with anything. She knew it 
was an idle gesture, meant to com¬ 
fort her. 

“You’d better come home, Prue,” 
he said. “You can’t help him. He 
doesn’t know you’re there.” 

She nodded. “I know. But — 
you can’t let anyone die alone. 
Even if they don’t know.” 

“All right,” he said. He kissed 
her, quickly and clumsily, and then 
he was gone. 

She walked to the bedside. The 
face under the bandages was un¬ 
moving, gray, waxy. 

A NURSE came in and said: 
“Would you like me to bring you 
tea. Miss Cathaway?” 

“No,” she said, “thank you.” 
One couldn’t eat here in this room. 
“I’ll run out and get some tea,” 
Prudence said. “Then I’ll come 
back.” 

She went out to the street^ to the 
dty alive. She went to Lyons, whete 



iUi^ ABUVJfc Al-r, 


1941 

the cakes and buns stood in won¬ 
derful pyramids in the glass cases 
in the imposing entryway. Inside, 
the orchestra fought its daily battle 
with opposing sound: the mass vol¬ 
ume of talk and called orders and 
thundering of chinaware. 

She drank tea and tried to eat 
the buns. The orchestra crashed in 
their ears. One tune seemed very 
popular. 

Roll out the barrel, 

We’ll have a barrel of fun. 

She walked back to the hospital 
in the gathering dusk. The city 
seemed to have a new air, a feeling 
of a race against time. The night 
air raids were making people anx¬ 
ious to get home before the first 
planes came over. There was a 
tenser tempo as the crowds poured 
into the Underground and caught 
busses on the run and pedaled furi¬ 
ously on bicycles and streamed 
along the pavements. 

As DEEPER DARKNESS fell, thecity 
outside grew into a new quietness 
— as if hushed as it lay in wait for 
the raid. Then she heard the sirens 
wail, and the muttering of the 
archies over in the East. The can¬ 
nonade began more unanimous, 
louder even, than the night before. 
The door opened and the nurse 
said, quickly: 

“Tnere*s another bad one on. Do 
you want ...” 

“No, it*s just as well to stay 
here.” 


The nurse went out, and Pru¬ 
dence felt anger — that the woman 
had spoken to her as if there were 
no one else in the room — no other 
living creature. Ignoring the one in 
the bed. Discounted already. 

She got up and turned the small 
light out and sat by the window, 
watching the familiar sight from 
behind the thick curtain: The sky 
alive with darting, rushing search¬ 
lights — leaping, waving, like ten¬ 
tacles of some sea monster fishing 
at random from a lair. 

She heard the shudder of bombs 
falling, and felt glad and a little 
elated. It was only just. If he had 
to lie there dying — somehow it 
made it more equal that she should 
sit here living under a raid. 

She felt the window shudder in 
front of her as a bomb fell some 
streets away. There was a grunting 
sound of the air, and then, after it, 
a tinkling of glass — going on, 
tinkling, falling, showering below. 
Even before her mind had grasped 
these details, the world jumped into 
a dimension beyond sound. There 
was a staggering blaze of light that 
somehow made the eyeballs ache 
even in the darkened room. She 
felt her head pulsating as if it had 
been crushed between giant nut¬ 
crackers. 

The world seemed utterly noise¬ 
less for a second, and then, as the 
sense of sound returned, she heard 
the rising lamentation, the outburst 
of wailing of frightened children, a 
woman’s cry. The glass tinkled 



igo THE READER S DIGEST Septen^ 


again below in an endless shower, 
and then the hospital became alive 
to a rushing sound — as if all the 
nurses with their sounding skirts, 
running without consciousness of 
dignity, had united to give the 
world a great, rushing whisper. 

The door opened and the cone of 
a torch shone on the floor. In the 
reflected light Prudence saw a nurse 
and an orderly. 

“Those who can*t go downstairs 
— we*ve got to put them under the 
bed,” the nurse said. 

“Under the bed?” 

“Yes, it*ll be some protection.” 

“No, please. It won*t make any 
difference now. Please!” 

She wanted to say: You can't 
give him the indignity of dying — 
on a floor — under a Bed. Why 
force on him in death what he 
wouldn’t have done in life? 

The nurse turned away and the 
orderly followed her, closing the 
door. 

' She listened to the barrage. Then, 
in a lull, his breathing sounded, 
rasping, high. The ugly sound rose 
higher and then died. She felt his 
pulse. There was no pulse. No 
heart action. 

Then it came, the pulse leaping 
and fluttering, as he drew in great, 
agonized gasps. 

She put his hand back under the 
covers, and went to the dark hall. 
She called and the nurse walked to 
hevj with a flashlight. 

— he’s dying now. Doesn^t 
ii^mi^otie want to know about it?” 


The nurse stood, hesitatingly. 

“I — we’ll try to get down there. 
Miss Cathaway . . .” 

“No. I supjx>se it doesn’t mat¬ 
ter. It wouldn’t do any good — but 
I thought someone — it’s all right.” 

She went back and began count¬ 
ing the spaces between the gasping 
fight for breath. She did it without 
any feeling. There was no feeling 
left in her. She counted — waiting 
— and the counting went on this 
time without end. The breathing 
did not come. 

She felt for the pulse again. Then 
she put the hand back under the 
cover, and felt in her bag for her 
small torchlight. 

Holding it in one hand, she bent 
over the bed and looked down. She 
knew she should feel sorrow some¬ 
how, but there was nothing to feel. 
The face — it was not Clive’s. 
Clive — he was something alive, 
intense. 

She picked up the chart, studied 
her watch, and wrote, carefully: 
“Patient died at 2:17 a.m.” She 
put the date underneath. Then she 
went out and found the nurse. 

“He’s dead,” she said. “I marked 
it on the chart.” 

Their two torches formed twin 
pools of light at their feet. 

“Is there anything I can do 
now?” Prudence asked. “Do you 
need any help?” 

“No, t^nk you. Miss Catha¬ 
way. We’re getting things settled 
on this floor; the hit was in the 
contagious ward.” 



J 9 P 

She went out of the hospital into 
a city somehow deserted and yet 
madly alive with urgency and ac¬ 
tion. In the courtyard steel-helmeted 
men moved through the moonlit 
night. She saw the shattered wing 
of the hospital. The bomb had 
sliced away a front wall and left 
the building open to view — like an 
opened front of a doirs house. Men 
were scrabbling at the foot of the 
rubbled brick and stone. 

It had no meaning. She 
turned away, and went 
on walking toward the 
east where the sky was 
ruddy with blazes. 

The guns wakened 
again to a full-voiced 
roar, and she thought: 

Another wave’s coming 
over. 

A man with black helmet glisten¬ 
ing called to.her: 

“Here, you. Get under cover!” 

She wondered at his rude way of 
speaking. Then she thought: He 
thinks I’m a streetwalker. It must 
be h^d for them, being spoken to 
like that. 

“All right,” she.said. “Tm going 
now.” • 

She went along the streets, echo¬ 
ing with gunfire. Sometimes there 
was the harsh drone of motors, and 
the ambulances streaked past in the 
empty streets. The fire engines 
roared along, racing through the 
night from one fire to another. 

She thought: Poor auxiliary fire¬ 
men. Evervone ioked about them 


/p/ 

— but now they’re not a joke any 
more. 

Poor men — perhaps they’d been 
like her — not knowing what they 
were letting themselves in for. You 
took an action — one little action 

— and after that life swept you 
away. 

Perhaps it would be good for 
them all to be swept away — torn 
from habit and routine. So many 
people tried to live on the 
bank of life — and life 
really was in the stream. 
Yes, that was life — head 
over heels in the current, 
torn along, trying to get 
breath. 

She halted, for sud¬ 
denly the sky before her 
lifted with light, and a 
great blaze sent tongues 
high. There was another blaze to 
the left. One to the right. She felt 
heat on her face, and water from 
the fire hoses poured over her feet 

— water filthy with the tossing 
mass of charred wood fragments. 

She heard a voice beside her. 

“If ye stand over ’ere, Miss.” 
It was a' little, middle-aged man 

— his billycock set at a firm angle. 
“It’s a do for fair, ain’t it? They 

lights the fires, and then they can 
see to ’it with the bombs.” 

She nodded.» 

“Why ain’t you ’ome?” he said. 
“Why aren’t you?” 

He put back his hat and scratched 
his head, as if the thought had just 
occurred to him. 


THIS ABOVE ALL 





tg2 


THE READER S DIGEST 




“Blimey if I know. I come out 
*ere — and IVe been 'ere for 
bowers. And I’ve got me Sunday 
best on, too. Ah, bombing women 
and children! I won’t ’alf catch it 
when the old woman sees me. But 

— you just stay, y’know. I’ve been 
watching ’em — look at ’em. 
Bombs and fire and everything. 
They can stick it, can’t they? 
Can’t they stick it?” 

The pathetic pride in his voice 
stirred her, and woke her feelings 
for the first time that night, and 
she suddenly became aware again 

— aware of body and tiredness and 
mental weariness. 

She looked at the little Cockney, 
and suddenly she felt the hotness 
rush up in her body and through 
her throat. Without bidding or for¬ 
bidding her eyes welled over, and 
hot tears streaked runnels’on her 
face. She had not cried for Clive 
dying, but now she cried for this 
little man who stood, not knowing 
why he stayed. 

“’Ere, ’ere,” he said, in em¬ 
barrassment. 

She turned away. Now at last 
she felt again. Suddenly, as she 
walked, she put her hand below her 
heart. She was glad that no one 
knew yet that there was to be. a 
baby — Clive’s baby. 

There was nothing to be done 
>;iBd>out it. She could carry on. Sh^’d 
goTback into uniform go back to 
and serve unril as long as 
heri Then ^ the baby! 

Tlfo thought strode her suddenly 


— and she had not thoughf of it 
before — that now he must be 
fatherless. Fatherless like his father. 
The finality of that had meaning, 
and only at that moment did she 
feel that Clive had died — and 
from then on he was dead. 

In that moment his death be¬ 
came real, and so it also became 
fitting in some way that the flames 
should rise, the earth erupt, the 
'buildings topple. She stood quietly 
in die deserted, sound-mad street. 

“Without a father — like your 
father,” she said. “But you’re 
going to have a better time of it 
thim he did. You’re going to have a 
better England to live in! Because 
we were both right. Both right! 
We have to fight now for what I 
believe in. And after that, we’ll 
fight for what he believed in. 

“We’ll win this war because — 
because we can stick it. And then, 
God help us, we’re going to win the 
peace, too. 

“You won’t have it like him. 
You’ll live in a better England than 
he did, because you deserve it! 
Everyone deserves it!” 

She began walking home in a 
night that was alive only to flame 
and noise — noise that no longer 
se^ed insane, but stubbornly de¬ 
fiant. And she was somehow .proud 
to, be in it and a part of it. ' - . 

For she knew she waa hearing a 
sound that no man had heard^for 
long centuries — the roar of Lon¬ 
don^ her back to the defends 
'-ing herself^ •-■.'i 



I 


TWENTrETHYEAR C£y|B3BB90IQB|^ VOLUME 39. NO. S94 

0S. What mtnt be dme t» j^he us govern m ent 
t representing national interests 

Pressure Groups JFtthin Government 

By WUliam Hard 

Washington political observer 


N OW is the time for us to get 
ourselves a government that 
will be good. We have the 
task of all-out national defense. 
When peace returns, along with all 
its prospective depression and un¬ 
employment, we shall have the tadc 
of all-out national recovery. We 
cannot accomplish it with the sort 
of government we have now. 

To accomplish either national 
defense or national recovery, we 
have to have a governmental or¬ 
ganization that represents national 
economic unity. Today it actually 
represents national c/frunity. 

We talk about private “pressure 
groups" in Washington. We de¬ 
nounce them. We investigate them. 
Nothiiig happens. Why? Because 
the “pressure group" idea is em¬ 
bedded in Qctr government itself. 

TiU i|8p. our gevernmental de- 
Mrtmehts State, Treasury, Wjt, 
Post Office, Iiitcrjor 


— served the general national in¬ 
terest. Then came the special-inter- 
dk: era. The Department of Agri¬ 
culture was erected to promote the 
welfare of one interest. 

Every Secretary of Agriculture 
has been a farmer or a specialized 
farm student and advocate. The 
department was created for the 
purpose of helping agriculture only. 
Inevitably it became a vast organi¬ 
zation of special pleaders for one 
section of our economy. Its atten¬ 
tion was riveted on gettii^ all it 
could for the farmer. 

The special-interest precedent 
was set. In 1903 we got a depart¬ 
ment to promote industry alone, 
irrespective of other interests. It 
was called the Department of Com¬ 
merce and Labor. The jmme im¬ 
plied recognition of the fact that it 
takes both the office and the work' 
bench to produce something. Bpe, 
that was too^iich unity hr usv 










2 


THE reader's digest 


October 


in 1913 the department was split 
and ^e got a Department of Com¬ 
merce by itself and a Department 
of Labor by itself. 

Virtually every Secretary of 
Commerce has been a businessman. 
Just as in the Department of Agri¬ 
culture the farmer has always been 
right, so in the Department of 
Commerce the businessman has 
always been right. 

Meanwhile the Department of 
Labor became the missionary not 
only broadly of labor but specifi¬ 
cally of organized labor. We have 
had four Secretaries of Labor, three 
of them union-card' men, one a 
union-card fan. 

The most vital section of the 
Department of Labor is the Con¬ 
ciliation Service. It exists to pre¬ 
vent strikes. But the whole Con¬ 
ciliation Service was immediately 
packed from top to bottom with 
trade-union officials and ex-offi¬ 
cials. This was done under Repub¬ 
lican just as under Democratic 
Presidents. 

Imagine! There was a dispute 
between a management and a 
union. The government sent a 
“conciliator,” an umpire. And from 
the start this umpire, with a union 
card in his pocket, was emotionally 
on the side of one of the two con¬ 
tending teams. It was the climax 
of the absurdity of special-interest 
government. 

. Yet that climax lasted on into 
new National Labor Relations 
in 1935. Just about every 


bright young man from a good law 
school who adolescently thought 
that management was always wrong 
and labor always right seemed to 
be able to get a job with that board. 

An ex-judge from Virginia once 
volunteered to go to work for it. 
He said he had often been chosen 
by both sides in management- 
labor disputes to make impartial 
decisions. It was made clear to him 
that the board did not want im¬ 
partial people. It wanted employes 
who were for labor. 

From 1889 to date we have torn 
the seamless web of American na¬ 
tional economic unity into shreds. 
We are giving the United States the 
same chaos of divided interests 
that wrecked France in the face 
of oncoming Nazi Germany. 

It has been done by both parties. 
It gives us our almost lunatical 
clutter of separate unintegrated 
“commissions,” “boards,” “bu¬ 
reaus,” and — the word is very 
appropriate — “divisions” in Wash¬ 
ington. It takes no less than 16 
federal agencies, for instance, to tell 
us about our financial system. 

Our social economy is a unity, 
all its parts interdependent. Our 
government, contrariwise, is a dis¬ 
unity. That is the menace and the 
prpblem. You cannot govern a 
ui^ity with a disunity. The attempt 
to. do so is the prime temptation of 
democracy. It can also be the final 
epitaph of democracy throughout 
the World. What can be done? I 
venture three suggesthms. 



PRESSURE GROUPS WITHIN GOVERNMENT 


S 


r94T 

One. All our officials must be 
trained into being professional neu¬ 
trals toward ail special interests, 
all pressure groups, all political 
parties. Progress is being made in 
that direction. We can permit our¬ 
selves some optimism. 

The present head of the Labor 
Department’s Gjnciliation Service, 
John R. Steelman, is neither a labor 
man nor a management man. He is 
a scholar by trade and a neutral by 
temper. He has added other neu¬ 
trals to the Conciliation Service 
staff. The old-time union-card men 
on the staff have caught the new 
spirit. More and more thev are 
reconcilers, not partisans. 

The same sort of thing is happen¬ 
ing in the staff of the National 
Labor Relations Board under those 
eminent professional neutrals Dr. 
Harry A. Millis and Dr. William 
M. Leiserson. There has been a 
shake-up of personnel. Economic 
partisanship has passed from being 
encouraged to fc«ng discouraged. 
The results have been happy for 
the President. Complaints against 
the board used to come to the 
White House in torrents. Now they 
come only in a trickle. Impartiality 
pays — even politically. 

Then there is the new Ramspeck 
Civil Service Law. It will help. On 
the first of next year almost all 
government jobs will be Civil Serv¬ 
ice jobs, the holders protected 
against pohtica! pressure and de¬ 
barred from politiod activity. But 
Civil Service does not touch de¬ 


partment heads or members of 
commissions or other officeholders 
who are appointed by the President 
and confirmed by the Senate. Poli¬ 
tics and economic partisanship can 
still reign among them. 

A high example was set in this 
matter by President Hoover in his 
appointments to the Supreme Court. 
He appointed Hughes, an economic 
middle-of-the-roader, and Rob¬ 
erts, an economic right-winger. Then, 
deliberately, in order to balance 
the Court and not to pack it, he 
appointed Cardozo, an economic 
left-winger. 

Public sentiment should vigor¬ 
ously demand that all Presidents 
make all appointments, whether to 
courts or to boards and commis¬ 
sions, on that same principle of 
economic impartiality. 

More and more the members oi 
our boards and commissions have 
duties which are quasi-judicial. 
More and more they have to have 
the spirit of judges. They may well 
remember Oliver Wendell Holmes. 
He was appointed to the Supreme 
Court by President Theodore Roose¬ 
velt. Shortly afterwards Roosevelt 
said to him: “I would like to dis¬ 
cuss a pending case with you.” 
Holmes drew himself up to his full 
Civil War height, glared, said, “By 
God, sir, I am a judged turned on 
his heel and walk^ out of the 
White House. 

That ^irit must animate our 
quasi-judicial officials. We must 
have a government personnel that 



4 


THE READER S DIGEST 


October 


shall be above all improper pres* 
sures whatsoever. Every citizen 
can do something about it, by de¬ 
manding that spirit. 

T‘wo, Our higher officeholders 
should be more permanent. 

The Securities and Exchange 
Commission, since its start in 1934, 
has had five chairmen. No sooner 
does one of them learn his duties 
than he springboards off into an 
ambassadorship or a judgeship or a 
law school deanship. This example 
is followed by the staff. So far 150 
lawyers, accountants and engineers 
in the SEC’s top ranks have re¬ 
signed to sell their talents and their 
public knowledge to private busi¬ 
ness. 

We need more government men 
like Daniel W. Bell. Dan entered 
the Treasury Department in 1911 
as a clerk. Step by step he has 
risen to the post of Under Secre¬ 
tary of the Treasury, second only